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The Quickest Way to a Man’s Heart (is Through His Bottomless Pit)

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Stiles Stilinski didn’t consider himself to be a particularly good cook. In fact, if asked, he would try to avoid answering as much as possible before listing off things he could cook without the whole truth being in there.

Yes, Stiles could, in fact, cook macaroni and cheese.

Out of a box.

Stiles could definitely make stir-fry.

When he popped the ready-made TV dinner into the microwave.

Not to mention, Stiles was a master at making pizza.

Tear it out of the box and toss it in the oven. Perfection.

Ever since having moved out just over a year ago, he was getting by and making do with what he could make without burning the entire building down. It was hard for him sometimes, because he often set off the fire alarm when he went to make toast, and always, always had to air out his apartment when he made popcorn because more often than not, he burned it.

Sometimes, he was surprised he didn’t burn water. Oh wait, no he’d done that. He’d done that too.

After the first few months, he’d started just ordering take-out. It was easier, and realistically, it was also cheaper. It meant he didn’t throw out half the contents of his fridge when he burned something beyond recognition.

So, yes, Stiles was a shitty as fuck cook. Something made extremely irritating whenever he opened his window when the apartment got too stuffy and had to smell the positively drool-worthy scents coming from his next door neighbour on a daily basis.

Some mornings, he’d open his apartment door and step out into the corridor to the smell of bacon and eggs, or fresh bread, or cinnamon french toast.

He’d often come home late in the evening and smell things like roast, or sauteed onions, or rich buttery scents.

God, and that wasn’t even counting the fucking baking. Stiles felt like his neighbour was torturing him on purpose. It was like he knew Stiles was a shitty cook—at this point, everyone did, not even heavenly smells can chase away the smell of burning popcorn.

Overall, Stiles really, really, really hated his neighbour. Because it wasn’t fair he was gifted with the blessed art of cooking while Stiles burned water when he tried to boil eggs.

The guy looked grumpy all the time, too. He and Stiles usually arrived home at the same time most days, standing silently in the elevator together to head up to their floor.

He remembered the first time he’d seen the man and realized he was the amazing cook next door. He wasn’t at all what he’d been expecting. For one thing, he looked like a fucking model, which he probably was during the day. He was tall and broad-shouldered, with close-cropped hair, piercing eyes, and two day’s worth of stubble that never seemed to get longer or shorter.

The man also looked like the grumpiest asshole on the planet, face always set in a scowl, and expression seeming annoyed more often than not.

It was weird to imagine that someone who looked so grumpy and/or annoyed all the time could go home every day and make meals that had Stiles salivating for hours.

Seriously, doing homework was hard sometimes.

It didn’t help that a lot of the times Stiles was opening his door to pay the delivery guy—most of whom knew his name by now—his neighbour would be opening his own door to let some guests in, or check his mail, or run and grab groceries. Really, it was embarrassing, and it got to the point where he avoided looking at the man when he emerged from his apartment on the fifth night in a row while Stiles was paying the Pizza Hut delivery guy.

They had more than just pizza! They also had really good pasta! Stiles wasn’t just eating pizza, even if he had bought the giant chocolate chip cookie for the fifth night in a row.

Also, he’d eaten the entire serving of whatever he’d ordered all five nights. His pants were starting to get tight and he felt himself developing heartburn more often than not.

He tried to balance it out by buying a salad the next day. From McDonalds, sure, but they had good salad! It was still salad, didn’t matter where it came from! Stiles didn’t even like salad, so he was doing well even eating it!

Scott had invited him out for dinner that night, since it was Friday, and while Stiles would’ve loved to join him, Scott was also inviting his girlfriend. As much as Stiles liked being a third wheel, he felt like he would have a much better time at home watching TV. He didn’t need to watch Kira and Scott be all gross and cute together.

Stiles knew he should be stopping at a restaurant to grab something, but he was too lazy to wait somewhere other than the comfort of his own home. That left him with pizza—again—or pasta, Chinese, Indian or Japanese. Those were the only places that delivered in his general vicinity.

Maybe he’d have Indian. It’d been a while since he’d set his mouth on fire, and he didn’t usually finish the whole meal in one sitting when he got Indian.

Yeah, Indian, he decided when he entered the building. He rode up the elevator alone, which was normal for a Friday since his neighbour didn’t seem to work Fridays. Stiles had stayed home many a Friday and heard his neighbour moving around next door before the smells hit. He wished his schedule allowed him a long weekend.

Today was no different when he stepped off the elevator. He didn’t know what the guy was making, but fuck, it smelled good. He was obviously barbecuing something, the aroma hitting him like a truck the second he exited the lift. It wasn’t fair, dammit! His neighbour’s wife/girlfriend/common-law partner probably ate like a fucking queen.

Sighing dejectedly to himself while unlocking his front door, he pushed into his apartment and flipped on the light, tossing his keys down and dropping his bag right in the entrance. Slamming the door a little harder than he’d been planning, he trudged across to his computer and fell into his chair with a groan, letting himself melt into the leather. It was still too early to order his food, but he also knew the Indian place got swamped on Fridays. He contemplated whether or not to wait, and decided that he usually got extra Naan for free when he ordered later because they almost always had some left over.

Booting up his laptop and loading World of Warcraft, he forced himself out of his chair and moved into his room to change out of his clothes. He re-emerged in sweats and a T-shirt, falling heavily into his seat once more and choosing his character before watching the screen load.

He was halfway through a quest in Dalaraan when someone knocked on his door. Turning and wondering who would be at his door at seven o’clock at night on a Friday, he hesitated when he thought maybe it was his neighbour’s door someone was knocking on.

When it came again, more of a pounding than a knocking this time, Stiles jerked to his feet and hurried across the apartment. It was probably his downstairs neighbour coming up to complain about his heavy-footedness. It wasn’t his fault he was heavy-footed! He’d lived in a house his entire life until a year ago, he was only human.

Pulling open his apartment door, he let out an involuntary shout when something was quite literally thrust into his chest hard enough to have him almost tip backwards. He managed to right himself while keeping hold of what had been shoved at him and looked up in time to see his neighbour striding back towards his apartment.

“You’re going to fucking kill yourself.”

His door slammed.

Stiles blinked at the other man’s door, utterly confused, and looked down at what he was holding.

It was a plastic bag, full of what felt like tupperware, which made no sense to Stiles because when had his neighbour broken into his house to steal his tupperware?

He knew that wasn’t right, even without being a moron, because the containers obviously weren’t empty. Shrugging and shutting his door, he wandered over to his kitchen and untied the knot in the bag, pulling the items out and freezing at the first one.

The plastic was still warm, the inside foggy from the food obviously not having been cooled before being put into it. Frowning, he pulled the lid off and couldn’t help the small moan that slid up his throat at the assault to his olfactory system.

There was some kind of bacon-wrapped chicken over a bed of rice and collard greens. Steam was still rising off the protein, suggesting his neighbour had literally made it, shoved it into a tupperware container, and brought it over.

Setting that aside after replacing the lid firmly—he didn’t want it getting cold—he dug into the bag again and pulled out another container. This one had some braised pork with mashed potatoes and a vegetable medley. It wasn’t as warm as the chicken, so it had obviously been made a while ago.

The third container was less exciting, because it was a salad, but it looked bright and full of different vegetables and flavours he hadn’t thought would work well together, but apparently they did because his tentative bite was like an explosion of freshness in his mouth.

The bottom two containers were smaller, having been wedged against the side of the bag, and when he pulled them out, he saw one was some kind of custard tart dessert thing and the other was a piece of triple chocolate cake. Both were extremely small, as if his neighbour had noticed his sweet tooth, but wanted to make sure he didn’t get diabetes from it.

It was while he was setting the desserts on his counter with a grin that he realized something.

His neighbour had just given him food. His neighbour, whom he had never once spoken to, had literally come to his door, thrust food at him, and snapped at him for eating badly.

It was surreal. It made no fucking sense. What was he supposed to do with this information?! Should he thank him?

“Of course I should thank him!” Stiles exclaimed to himself, somewhat horrified.

How the fuck was he supposed to thank him? “Hey dude, thanks for noticing I order a lot of pizza and trying to help me not die. Cheers.”?

Shit, should he cook him something in return?

“Only if you want to kill him,” Stiles muttered to himself, staring down at the tupperware containers.

But... shit.

He couldn’t do nothing! He had to thank him!

Turning and striding purposefully to his door, he pulled it open and walked the four steps to the right, stopping in front of the other man’s door and knocking. He waited for a few seconds, hearing movement from within, and then a fucking bombshell of a blonde opened the door, giving him a brief once over that had heat rising up the back of his neck.

Girlfriend. Someone as hot as him and as gorgeous as her were definitely made for each other. Christ they would have beautiful babies.

Stiles didn’t know who he was more jealous of—that was the nice thing about playing both sides.

“Um, hi. I’m looking for—” He paused, realizing he didn’t know the man’s name. He couldn’t very well call him his neighbour, technically this girl was, too.

“Oh,” she said with a grin, leaning her hip against the doorframe and crossing her arms. “You must be the neighbour who’s trying to kill himself.”

The flush crept up higher, but for a different reason now. “I’m the neighbour, yeah. I uh, just wanted to come and say thank you. You know, for the food he made.” He paused. “You made?”

A bark of laughter at that and she shook her head. “No way. I don’t think it’s possible to cook as well as he does. He’s a little busy at the moment, but I’ll let him know you stopped by.”

Stiles nodded, feeling awkward and stepping backwards. “Um, thanks.”

“You’re welcome. Oh, and Mr. Neighbour-man?”

He’d reached his door by then, the blonde leaning out of the apartment slightly so she could still see him. The grin on her face was positively gleeful.

“Might want to invest in some new shirts. That one’s worn a little thin.”

Stiles looked down at himself and felt ready to die of embarrassment at having not only his hot neighbour, but the man’s hot girlfriend see him in a shirt so worn that it was practically see-through.

Trying to push back the red creeping up his neck, he hurried back into his apartment and shut the door behind himself.


The chicken was almost sinful. Stiles wasn’t ashamed to admit that every bite had him moaning and closing his eyes, savouring the taste and intense burst of flavour. The chicken was cooked to perfection, all juicy and delicious, as well as being wrapped in bacon. Stiles could eat a shoe if it was wrapped in bacon, but the chicken was infinitely better.

There was so much flavour in the rice that he wasn’t sure what his neighbour had even done to it to get it so rich. The collard greens, which he normally would’ve avoided, were actually extremely tasty. He’d added some kind of oyster sauce, maybe some kind of teriyaki? Stiles wasn’t sure, but they tasted to die for, and he actually thought they might be his favourite part of the dish.

It took a lot of self-control not to devour the other meals he’d been given, but he dutifully put them in the fridge before washing out the container and eating the custard pie. It was a little tart, but the butteryness of the dough it was nestled in complemented it so well. Jesus, he was so jealous of that blonde girl for being able to eat this on a daily basis. He definitely wished he had someone cooking dinners like this for him all the time.

Strangely enough, he didn’t feel like he’d gain a lot of weight, either. He was getting fatter by the day with all his take-out, but this food was healthy and good. It was hard finishing the last bite, because it left him wanting more.

He managed to resist rushing to the fridge to pull the other food out and eat it all like a wild animal, but it was hard. He only managed by entering a raid on WoW that held most of his attention for the better part of two hours.

Calling his dad before going to bed, he almost spilled about his neighbour before remembering his father didn’t know how badly he’d been eating. It wasn’t like it was a secret he couldn’t cook, but he was sure his father expected him to be responsible and eat vegetables every now and then.

When he fell asleep and woke the next morning, it was the first time in a long time where his body didn’t hate him. It was like that one meal of real, actual food had done wonders for his insides. His heart didn’t hurt, his intestines weren’t twisting uncomfortably, his stomach was calm. Shit, he was going to have a hard time going back to pizza.

Shuffling into the kitchen, he was disappointed to remember he only had the salad and pork left. Lunch and dinner. It was only nine, he couldn’t afford to eat the salad now, so he rooted through his cupboards for some breakfast before finding a box of Pop Tarts.

He may or may not have eaten two packets, stomach aching from all the sugar in consuming four of the overly sweet breakfast food. Not one of his finer moments, but it wasn’t like his neighbour could see through the wall. Besides, he wasn’t expecting anything more, so he wasn’t going to waste what he had left.

He was tempted to play more WoW but he had some homework for school, and he didn’t want to fail his Biochemistry course after arguing so heatedly with the professor to let him, a second year, take a fourth year course.

Grabbing his books, he opened his living room window before settling down on the couch cross-legged. He worked dutifully on his homework for a few hours, listening to the sounds of the city outside, and then the smells hit.

It was ten times worse now that he’d actually tasted it, but he tried his best to ignore it. He was halfway through the problem he was working on when he heard the window next door open and the tail-end of a conversation.

“—eal is. If you want to go, just go.”

“You know I can’t just go, Erica,” a smooth, baritone said. It made all the hair on Stiles’ body rise and his toes curl. God, he’d never really listened to his neighbour speak before, and even the day before when he’d snapped at him, he hadn’t really heard him.

Fuck. Gorgeous, amazing cook, sinful voice. What did this guy not have? Stiles wanted to hate him, but he was pretty sure he was in love with him. He was hot even before Stiles had eaten his food.

“You can take time off, it’s not a foreign concept,” the girl, Erica, said dryly. Stiles was fairly certain it was the blonde bombshell from the night before. That meant she’d stayed over, which meant they were definitely something. Dating, or fuck buddies, whichever.

Stiles was so jealous of her. And him. Fuck, they were both gorgeous, he’d love to be sandwiched between them.

“Don’t you have a husband to go home to?” his neighbour asked irately.

Oh shit, Stiles thought, eyes widening. Was she cheating on her husband with his neighbour?!

“Asshole,” the woman muttered. “You coming by later? Boyd wanted to have you for dinner before he heads off again.”

His neighbour grumbled under his breath but eventually grunted ascent. Stiles heard shuffling next door and then the door in the corridor opened and closed.

Suddenly, he didn’t know what to think of his neighbour. Was he having an affair? Obviously the blonde woman was married, so why had she spent the night?

“None of my business!” Stiles exclaimed to himself loudly, throwing his arms out on either side of myself. “It is none of my business!” he insisted, dutifully ducking his head back down and returning to his studies.

He felt a flush sliding up the back of his neck at the snort of laughter he heard through his window, not having realized his neighbour was still out on his own balcony. Great, now not only did he know Stiles ate poorly, he also knew Stiles spoke to himself.

It was weird though, he’d been like this for months, ever since he’d moved in. Had he never had his window open while talking to himself? Or maybe his neighbour had never been on his balcony? He didn’t know.

Didn’t matter! Guy was an adultering asshole! A hot, amazing cook of an adultering asshole, but an adultering asshole all the same!

Still...

Stiles jerked to his feet and slammed his window shut, feeling embarrassment rising when he heard his neighbour positively howl with laughter. Why was this his life?

Sighing, he moved back to the couch and fell onto it face-first. Maybe if he took a nap, he could re-do this entire day.

That was a tempting thought.


Stiles didn’t end up napping. He’d re-opened his window after being sure his neighbour was gone from the terrace and had finished working on his assignment. He’d taken the salad out a little after noon, munching away on it while continuing his homework, and was embarrassed at the noises he made. It should be illegal to cook that well.

It was past four by the time he took a break, and he sat playing MarioKart for a few minutes before his phone rang.

“What’s up, Scotty?” he asked, a little distracted since Peach had just passed him and he was half his usual size.

“Do you still have that English book checked out from the library?”

“Yeah, why? You need it?”

“Yeah, I haven’t been able to find a copy online. Can you bring it tomorrow?”

“Sure.” Stiles glared at the screen when Peach crossed the finish line a scant second before he did, ruining his perfect score. He tossed his controller down, giving Scott his full attention now. “How was dinner?”

“Good,” Scott said, voice going soft and Stiles had to resist the urge to roll his eyes at how lovey-dovey Scott always got. He’d been the same way in high school with Allison.

He was glad, though. Hearing Scott like this was a relief. He honestly hadn’t thought Scott would recover from Allison’s death. It hadn’t been a great year for any of them, lots of problems back home. Allison had been hit by a drunk driver while she and Scott had been coming home from a movie. She’d died in Scott’s arms, and Stiles had honestly thought he would never recover from that.

But in senior year, he’d met Kira and now they’d all headed off to the same university together. Unintentional, really, but life had a way of working itself out. The only reason Stiles lived alone was because Scott and Kira shared a place together, and if there was anything worse than being a third wheel, it was being a third roommate.

No thank you.

“My night was good too, thanks for asking,” Stiles said sarcastically, then his eyes landed on the tupperware his salad had been in and he realized it had been good. “Dude! Scotty! My neighbour made me food!”

“What?” Scott asked, sounding confused.

“Yeah! I was going to order Indian last night, but before I got around to it, he knocked on my door and thrust food at me and told me I was going to kill myself.”

“Not inaccurate,” his friend hummed.

“Oh my God, his food though! You know what it’s like, you can smell it when you come over, same as me. Oh my God, Scott, I want to marry this guy! Ugh! It was so delicious! And he even made me lunch and dinner for today, too! With dessert and everything! Though no breakfast, so I kind of ate four Pop Tarts, but whatever, I’ll live. Oh.” He made himself disappointed again remembering the blonde woman. “But I think he’s a homewrecker.” He lowered his voice now, realizing his window was open. He doubted his neighbour was hanging out on his terrace eavesdropping, but just in case. “He had this hot blonde over last night, and she was still there this morning.”

“Maybe they’re dating,” Scott said, but his voice carried the frown he was obviously sporting.

“I thought so too, but then today I heard him mention she should head home to her husband.” Stiles sighed and shook his head. “The hot ones are always the assholes, man. Food’s good though, so I’m definitely finishing that.”

“Mm,” was Scott’s reply. “Well, try not to get involved in their activities. I don’t want to have to call your dad because the jealous husband showed up and mistook you for your neighbour.”

Stiles snorted at that, because that would just be stupid. His neighbour was a Greek masterpiece chiselled out of stone. Stiles was a Picasso painting, at best.

Kira came home while they were still chatting and Stiles bid Scott goodnight when it became clear he was getting distracted. He returned to his game, thinking about dinner since it was almost six by now, when he heard movement out in the corridor. He turned his head, hearing the door beside him shut and lock, and wondered if his neighbour was heading out to see the woman, Erica, and this Boyd person.

He was about to turn back to the screen when he heard plastic crinkling at his door and a small thump and he whipped back around to look towards the entrance. Pausing his game, he got quickly to his feet and hurried to the door, throwing it open. The corridor was empty, but when he looked down, there was a plastic bag hanging from his doorknob. He took it apprehensively, knowing it came from his neighbour, and shut the door.

Bringing it to the kitchen, when he opened it this time, he found a note sitting on top of the tupperware. He unfolded it, and was surprised at the small, neat print that it contained. Seriously, this guy was too fucking perfect. Stiles wanted him so badly, he was salivating.

Pop Tarts are the worst breakfast you could possibly have. Seriously, are you trying to kill yourself?

Stiles paused, staring down at those words. How did... holy fucking shit, he was listening! He’d heard him talking to Scott! Shit! That meant he’d heard...

His face grew warm as he continued reading, feeling like an idiot. God, he could never face him again! Ever!

As for Erica, I’m not a homewrecker. She’s a childhood friend, and when her husband’s away, she crashes with me because she’s lonely. Her husband knows, we’re close friends. Don’t spread rumours, it can ruin people.
Try not to eat this all in one sitting.

Setting the note aside, he pulled out the new containers. The first one held four freshly baked scones. Stiles felt tempted to tear into them right now, but figured they were for breakfast. He also pulled out a jar or what looked like home-made strawberry jam. It was probably for said scones, but he just sighed and put it back in the bag. He was allergic to strawberries, which was a shame, because it looked amazing.

There was another tupperware of salad, along with a final one at the bottom with mozarrella and tomato stuffed chicken, garlic mushrooms and bok choy covered in some brown sauce he couldn’t identify.

As with the day before, there was a small container at the bottom of what looked to be a cream-puff. This guy was literally making him a day’s worth of meals now. Well, two days, so far, but still. He wanted to marry him.

Turning quickly, he hurried to yank a page out of one of his notebooks and hastily scrawled a message.

Thanks dude. I don’t know why my health matters to you so much, but my stomach definitely appreciates it. I woke up feeling good for the first time in months, thanks to you. Whatever I can do to repay you for this weekend of awesome food, seriously, please let me know.
How’d you get so good at this, anyway? You’re seriously amazing, you should work in a restaurant. I mean, if you don’t already. You might? Either way, thank you for this weekend of food, you’re awesome!
And sorry about the homewrecker thing. Misunderstanding. I’ll keep things to myself in the future.
Thank you!!!!!!!
Stiles.

Honestly, he was only signing his name in hopes that, if he got another note, his neighbour would sign his name. It’d be nice to call him something other than ‘his neighbour’ all the time.

He was about to fold the note up when he remembered the jam and hastily unfolded it.

PS: Thanks for the jam, it looks amazing, but I’m actually allergic to strawberries. The scones will be fine plain, I’m sure. They look great! Thank you again!!!!!

He left the note on the counter for a moment, moving to the living room to grab the container his lunch had been in and washing it. He set it and the previous night’s tupperware back in the bag and was about to put the note on top when he thought better of it.

Deciding to transfer all of the food into his own containers, he quickly did that and washed out all the ones from the man next door before putting them all back into the bag. He opened the note once more to scrawl one last message, some of his words smudged when water droplets fell onto the page.

PPS: I promise I didn’t eat it all. I moved it all to my own containers, since having too many of yours might mean problems for your leftovers. They’re all clean. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Satisfied this time, he stuck it into the bag and moved to the front door, heading out into the corridor and putting it onto his neighbour’s doorknob.

Pleased with himself, he returned to his own apartment and eagerly dug into the food he’d been saving for dinner, pleased to know he’d have an entire day’s worth of food left once he was finished this meal.


Stiles didn’t hear his neighbour come home, and when he left the house on Sunday morning to do his laundry, he found the bag still hanging on his neighbour’s door. He could only assume he’d stayed the night at his friend’s place.

Maybe they were into threesomes?

“Nope! No, don’t go there, stop it!” He’d already made one wrong assumption, he didn’t want to make any more.

He went to the laundromat down the street with some homework, and sat in one of the hard, uncomfortable chairs by the door until his wash was done. When he got it put into the dryer, he went out to grab some more soap and shampoo from the store, coming back in time to finish one last assignment before the dryer was done.

It was a little past lunchtime when he got home, and the bag was gone from his neighbour’s door. He found another at his own, this one smaller denoting it held only one item. When he took it inside, he set his laundry down and checked the contents, grinning like an idiot when he pulled out another pot of jam.

This one looked like raspberry.

It also had a new note.

I didn’t know. I wasn’t trying to kill you or anything. Hope raspberry’s okay. If you’re allergic to anything else, let me know.

No signed name, which was disappointing, but the words suggested he may be seeing more food from him, and that was exciting as fuck.

Stiles had eaten one of the scones plain for breakfast, and it had been so buttery and moist and just, he’d wanted to cry, it was so delicious. He was glad he still had three left, and planned on taking advantage of them for the next few breakfasts.

With jam now! With jam.

He needed to thank this guy, but he literally had no idea how.

His only thought was to cook him something, but that would be stupid—also he didn’t want to kill the guy—but he felt guilty sitting there with food someone else made without returning the favour somehow.

He didn’t even really know why he was doing this, and if it would even continue. Sure he had food right now, but he doubted his neighbour was going to be cooking for him on a daily basis, so he just tried to savour what he had as best he could while he could. 

Stiles was playing video games well into the afternoon, but he paused it when he started smelling something delicious from next door, his mouth watering, and very selfishly hoped it was for him. He knew that was asking a bit much, but he so badly hoped it was.

When the evening rolled around and there was still nothing, he sadly ate his dinner and dessert, and realized it was back to pizza and takeout. Rinsing his plate off in the sink, he started to set it in the dishwasher when there was a knock at his door.

Turning to it, he wiped his wet hands on his pants and headed towards it, opening it. There was no one there, but there was a box in front of his door. It was folded over in cris-cross formation to keep the flaps shut, but not taped, so it obviously hadn’t been delivered.

Pulling it into the apartment and shutting the door, he dragged it into the living area and sat down, pulling open the flaps. He promptly choked at what he found inside and began pulling items out hastily.

There had to be a week’s worth of food in the box! Some items were in tupperware, others in re-sealable bags, and some wrapped in tinfoil. He had no idea what was going on and he noticed each item had two letters inked on them with a sharpie.

It was easy to determine what they were for. “MB” was Monday, Breakfast. Then “ML” for Monday Lunch, and so on and so forth. He pulled everything out, putting them in neat little piles, and found he had a breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert for every day leading up to the following Sunday evening.

He opened a few items at random, just to see what they were, and found some had instructions. He unwrapped one of the breakfasts that was in tinfoil and found it also wrapped in saran-wrap inside with a note that read, “Freeze to keep longer, then microwave high 5 mins wrapped in damp paper towel to eat. Sausage, egg and pepper breakfast burrito.”

There were different types of breakfast burritos, along with two yogurt cups and a cinnamon bun complete with ooey, gooey icing.

Most of the lunches were just salads, though one day had fish and roasted potatoes.

The dinners were all different, the closest one to him being barbecue ribs, which he literally wanted to just eat right now despite having just finished dinner.

And, as usual, a few little desserts. Some cookies, a small piece of cheesecake, a few chocolate barks.

“This is ridiculous,” Stiles insisted. “I mean, nice, and awesome, and amazing, but ridiculous.”

He got to his feet, leaving everything where it was, and headed for his door. He exited the apartment and went to knock on his neighbour’s door. He heard nothing from inside, but thought maybe he was in the bathroom. He waited for a few seconds, then knocked again.

Maybe he’d gone out. It was possible, he supposed.

Returning to his apartment, he stared down at the pile of food and noticed, for the first time, there was a note taped to the side. He tore it off and opened it, only to have his eyebrows shoot up when he saw a list of all ingredients that had been used and in what items.

Stiles realized it was because of the jam, and the fact that he had told his neighbour he was allergic to strawberries.

“This guy is amazing,” Stiles whispered to himself. He stood to grab his notebook and ripped a page out. He checked his wallet before pulling out the few meagre bills he had in there and then grabbed a pen, writing out a new note.

I don’t know why you’re doing this, but you’re the best and I love you for it. You are seriously amazing and I cannot believe I am getting all of this fresh, home-cooked food and you actually gave me an entire week’s worth? Excuse me, can I marry you?

Stiles stared down at the piece of paper, then crumpled it up and grabbed another, starting again.

You are an amazing and kind human being, and I hope you know that. You seriously don’t have to do this, but my stomach thanks you for it profusely. This is amazing and all of it looks delicious, thank you so, SO much.
I don’t like feeling like I owe you though, especially given the ingredients AND the time you’re spending on all this. It’s not much, but I’ll take more out the next time I’m at a bank.
Thank you so much. Seriously.
Stiles.

Satisfied, he folded the money up into the note and headed back out of his apartment, bending down in front of his neighbour’s door and pushing the note under it. Satisfied it was in, and no one would be able to pull it back out and steal the twenty-two dollars he’d included, he returned to his apartment.

He started sorting all the food out, putting some items in the freezer, others in the pantry and the rest in the fridge. He took a few pictures of the meals, texting them to Scott, and then cackled to himself when his friend responded back with exclamation points.

Stiles was getting ready for bed when he heard something at the door. Wandering down the corridor from the bathroom, he saw a piece of paper on his floor and practically raced towards it, toothbrush in his mouth and foam leaking down his chin.

Grabbing the note, he unfolded it hastily and saw bills fall out. Frowning, he read the note while bending down to gather them.

I’m just being neighbourly. Thanks for the money, but I’m not doing this to get paid by you. I just wanted to make sure you didn’t kill yourself.
Hope you like it and you’re not allergic to anything else.
D.

Still no name, but an initial. It was a start. At least he could call his neighbour “Dee” now instead of “neighbour.”

Returning to the bathroom to finish brushing his teeth, he spat foam out and then rinsed his mouth with water, heading back for the living room once he was done. He grabbed his notebook and tore out another sheet of paper, hastily writing a note.

Thank you for being neighbourly. Seriously, my stomach appreciates it. But I can’t just accept all this for FREE.
I mean, yes, I’m a poor university student so free is always good, but I need to repay you. Do you like movies? Or video games?
Stiles.

Stiles had over five hundred movies and a half a dozen video games. He was good with giving or lending them out to his neighbour. He almost walked out of the apartment before realizing he was only in his shirt and boxer-briefs.

Deciding it would only take a second, he opened his door and glanced both ways to make sure no one was coming, and then hurried next door and slipped the note in the gap underneath. Then he raced back to his apartment, heart pounding. He slid to the floor, covering his face with both hands, and wondered what his neighbour thought of him. He probably thought he was a complete loser. A loser who couldn’t cook.

God, this was embarrassing. His neighbour—Dee, he supposed—was so hot and nice and good at pretty much everything. He was so perfect Stiles wanted to hate him, but he was too busy loving him to hate him and it was frustrating.

He was still sitting there when he heard Dee’s door open and his head shot up. He sat there waiting, wanting to get up and wrench open his door, but Dee didn’t seem to have moved from his doorway.

Stiles waited, but eventually he just shut the door again without having moved. Disappointed, Stiles sighed and raked a hand through his hair, standing so he could go finish getting ready for bed.


When he woke up the next morning, he had another note beneath his door, and figured Dee had dropped it off before heading to work. He opened it, and frowned a little before perking up again at what he read.

You really don’t have to. I like cooking and I always make too much.
And I don’t like video games, no. They rot the brain. Movies are okay, but in moderation.
I like to read. If you have any good suggestions for me, I’ll take that as payment.
D.

Books! Stiles wasn’t really a reader, but he knew a lot of good obscure authors he was sure Dee hadn’t heard of! That was definitely something he could do!

He tore out a page from his notebook and started writing author’s names down before pausing. There was a used bookstore a few blocks from campus, and they sold a lot of titles for extremely cheap. Much cheaper than the food Stiles had in his fridge. He figured it wouldn’t hurt his budget if he went down there to grab a few and offered those up. It would be kinder, for sure, and show that Stiles really did want to repay him. Anyone could jot down a few names, he wanted to actually do something for him.

Nodding to himself, he left the page aside for later and then got ready for class. He almost missed the bus when he got distracted by the amazing breakfast he had, but he managed to catch it and head to campus, humming to himself unconsciously because he still had a scone with some jam, as well as his lunch, in his bag for later. 

He made it through his morning classes as normal, and when he went to meet Scott and Kira for lunch, he had to protect it with most of his body because Scott kept attempting to try it.

“Come on! You keep raving about how good his cooking is, at least let me have a bite!”

“It’s just salad,” Stiles insisted. “Salad’s gross. This is disgusting. Ew.”

“Then why are you being so protective?” Scott asked dryly, trying to get his fork into the container.

He played dirty and used some Werewolf strength, shoving a giant forkful into his mouth. Stiles sputtered indignantly and proceeded to steal half of Scott’s fries, shoving them into his own mouth before Scott could say anything.

“Dude, that is one good salad. What is that, tuna?”

“I think it’s salmon,” Stiles said, shifting a little further away and protecting his meal more diligently. “I’m having barbecue ribs and cheesecake for dinner.”

“Your neighbour is awesome.”

“I know!” Stiles grinned. “And his name is Dee. Well, I’m guessing it starts with the letter ‘D,’ anyway.”

“How do you know?” Kira asked, sipping at a pink-coloured smoothie.

“We’ve been passing notes. He tried to kill me with strawberries so I wrote him a note and we’ve kind of just... been communicating that way.”

“Well, tell him to come make dinner next time I’m over,” Scott insisted, returning to his own burger and fries.

Stiles couldn’t remember a time where he’d ever want to eat a salad over burger and fries, but his stomach had been feeling better since Dee’s cooking, and he was not going to jeopardize that because of a weakness. A few fries was nothing, and it had been revenge, anyway. Didn’t count.

They parted ways after that, Scott heading to class and Stiles and Kira heading for the buses. They got on the same one, but Stiles got off a few stops later to go to the bookstore, waving goodbye to Kira.

When he entered the store, he browsed around for a bit while the store owner spoke to another customer. He picked up some books, read the backs, then put them down. He didn’t know what his neighbour liked, they didn’t really know much about one another. He figured he could go for a bit of everything. Some action, fantasy, maybe a romance just to spice things up.

When the owner was done and came to speak to Stiles, they perused the books for well over half an hour, and by the end of it, Stiles had seven books he was fairly happy with. They all sounded interesting, were obscure authors, and had some level of mystery associated with them. He also bought another book for himself which he’d likely lend to Scott afterwards, because it pertained to Werewolves and those were always a kick to read.

Stiles had still been young when the Supernatural community had come out, but once it had, Stiles grew up in a world where he could find a book written prior to Werewolves being known and then laugh hysterically with Scott over its idiocy.

His favourite to date was about the wolfman only being able to shift and lose himself on the full moon. Stiles had known Scott for seventeen years of his nineteen years of life. Of those seventeen years, Scott had been a Werewolf for six of them, having been bitten in middle school by a feral Werewolf before it was captured and sent to a special facility.

Stiles didn’t know much about the facilities, but he trusted his dad, so he figured it was like a mental institute for Werewolves or something. It had been hard for Scott to get everything under control by himself at such a young age, but luckily for him, Stiles was obsessed with the Supernatural, and together they figured it out. 

Now, while Scott still wasn’t necessarily happy he was a Werewolf, he had a Pack back home, and they always watched old movies and joked about how misinformed people used to be. A funny thought, really, that so many things they thought were true weren’t actually true.

“Thanks man,” Stiles said to the owner while heading out the door. He went back to catch the bus, and when he got home, he perked up when he opened the door to the building and saw Dee standing at the elevators, waiting for them to arrive.

He hurried forward, ignoring the way Dee’s shoulders seemed to tense, and moved up beside him.

“Hey,” he said, speaking to him for the first time. Usually they were both silent on their way up. Dee always looked angry and like he was holding his breath, and Stiles was embarrassed and turned on, so it was best to keep his mouth shut. But they actually had something to talk about now, so he ignored his pounding heart and grinned up at Dee, who was resolutely staring straight ahead with his fists clenched and a red tinge slowly creeping up the back of his neck.

“How’s it going? Done for the day?” Dee didn’t even look at him, he just nodded once, eyes locked on the elevator doors in front of him and crossing his arms, hunching his shoulders a little bit. “Cool, me too. Hey man, I just wanted to say thanks a lot for the food. You have no idea how much it’s helping me. Don’t feel obligated to keep it up, but I wouldn’t say no if you did.” Stiles laughed, then realized what he was holding. “Oh! Speaking of which, you said you like to read!” He glanced down and opened the bag he held, digging through it for one of the books. “I got you some books, but I figure I’ll give them to you one at a—” He looked up, holding a book in his hand, but Dee was gone. “Time,” he finished lamely.

He heard the stairwell door shut and realized Dee had gone to take the stairs. Stiles didn’t know how to take that, hand dropping slightly and frown on his face. Had he offended him somehow? Was he maybe not getting food from Dee and actually from another hot neighbour who happened to be an amazing cook?

No, that was dumb, he’d been the one to knock and shove food at Stiles, it couldn’t be anyone else. Besides, he kept passing notes to him, so unless there was someone else in the apartment with him, it had to be him.

“Weird,” he decided with a frown, a little put off and disappointed. He put the book back into his bag and stepped into the lift when it arrived. By the time he reached his floor, Dee had long since disappeared into his apartment.

Shrugging, Stiles went to his own and dropped his bags by the front door, pulling his phone out. He texted with Lydia for a little bit, wanting to know about Oxford, and she very rudely reminded him it was the middle of the night for her and to fuck off. He just cackled and texted her back a good night with a kissy face. She sent him back a middle finger.

True love, right there.

He was about to get his books out to do some homework when his phone rang. Seeing Scott’s name, he answered with a, “What’s up Scotty?”

“Hey, Kira said you got off the bus early. Where did you go?”

“What’re you, my dad?” Stiles rolled his eyes. “I went to the bookstore. Dee said he likes to read so I was trying to find him obscure authors and books.” He frowned, remembering the encounter downstairs. “I feel like I might have wasted my money, though.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Well...” Stiles trailed off, checked all his windows were firmly shut, and then lowered his voice, worried Dee would somehow magically hear him. “I saw him downstairs when I was coming home. We were waiting for the elevator together and I was talking to him and when I went to grab a book to give to him, I turned around and he was gone. He went to the stairs. Straight up left me mid-sentence.”

“That’s kind of rude,” Scott said, a frown clear in his tone.

“Right?” Stiles fell heavily onto his couch with a sigh, throwing one arm over his eyes. “I mean, I get not everyone’s a chatterbox like me, but it was kind of off-putting having him just bail in the middle of my sentence. While I was trying to give him something, even. I don’t really know how I feel about that.”

“Did he maybe get a call or something and you didn’t notice?” Scott asked, always wanting to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Good old Scotty.

“Nope. He just walked off.” He shrugged. “Whatever. I’ll give him the books later and then I guess that’s that. Shame really, I was enjoying passing notes with him. Kind of hoping for a dinner invite, to be honest.”

Scott let out a groan, knowing where this was going, but Stiles didn’t show him any mercy.

If he had to listen to Scott wax poetic about Kira’s damn eyelashes, then Scott could listen to him fawn all over Dee.

“He’s so gorgeous, Scott. Like, I would let him bend me over a table, and you know how I feel about being bent over tables.”

“Sadly, I do, yes.”

“He’s gorgeous, and a good cook, and I mean, I thought he was nice and considerate given he was making food for a stranger, but I guess not? Well, he had to have a flaw somewhere. No one’s that perfect.”

“What does he do, anyway?”

“I don’t know,” Stiles insisted incredulously. “Probably a model. With a jaw like that, shit, I would buy anything he tried to sell me. I mentioned the bending over the table thing, right?”

“Could you maybe not mention it a third time?”

“Lame, Scotty. Lame.” Stiles sighed, rubbing at his face with one hand when he heard something at his door. Frowning and leaning forward, he looked down the corridor as best he could without getting off the couch and saw a piece of paper on the ground.

“Hold up, I just got a note.”

“Seriously? What is this, third grade? Why don’t you guys talk to each other?”

“I tried, remember? He walked away from me.” Stiles grunted while he got to his feet and padded across the apartment to the door, snatching up the note and moving back to the couch. Cradling the phone between his ear and shoulder, he unfolded it, reading it aloud when Scott asked what it said.

“‘Stiles, I’m really sorry about earlier. My job is extremely demanding and exhausting, and I always have to be 100% on at all times. As an introvert, I really need some time to myself, and when you started speaking to me, I got a little overwhelmed. I recognize what I did was rude, and I apologize for that, it wasn’t my intention. I have been kicking myself since I got home, and just wanted to tell you I’m sorry for walking away like that. I won’t do it again. I hope you understand. D.”

Stiles made a small humming noise, reading the words over again. He wasn’t sure he accepted the apology, to be honest. Exhausted or not, walking away from someone like that was rude and if Dee recognized that, he shouldn’t have done it.

“You’re not over this, are you?”

“Dude walked off mid-sentence, Scott!” Stiles tossed the note aside and scowled at the wall across from him. “I mean, Malia’s an introvert, and she’s never walked off on me.”

“She’s also blunt and inconsiderate.”

“But not rude,” Stiles insisted, pointing his finger at no one but knowing Scott knew him well enough to picture it. “I don’t know, I’ll think on it.”

“Like you’ve never been rude. Guy had a bad day. I say give him another chance and if he blows you off again, then that’s his problem.”

“Maybe.” Stiles groaned and fell sideways on the couch, closing his eyes. “Nap time.”

“If you say so. Talk later.”

“Mm.”

Scott hung up, so Stiles just lay there with the phone against his ear, eyes closed and thoughts on the note beside him.

He didn’t actually intend to fall asleep but he jerked upright at the loud knock on his door, managed to call out something that could have been “coming,” and then fell off the couch. Grunting and hurrying to his feet, he rubbed at his elbow while rushing to the door and then pulled it open.

The hot blonde girl—Erica, if he recalled correctly—was standing on the other side of his door, grinning at him.

“Hey cutie. Nice hair. Can I come in?”

She pushed her way inside before he’d even fully deciphered what she said and she pulled the handle from his grip, shutting the door. She locked it, then tilted her head to the side, but she wasn’t looking at Stiles. She just grinned and muttered something under her breath before moving further into the apartment and falling onto Stiles’ couch.

Great. Hot, but crazy. And also in his apartment. If she pulled out a knife, Stiles was going for the frying pans.

“Sorry for barging in, but I had to be quick or Derek would come out of his apartment to drag me away, and we can’t have that.”

Derek. His neighbour’s name was Derek. It was a relief not to have to call him “Dee” anymore. Because he kept thinking about stupid internet memes and how much he wanted the D from Dee.

“Okay,” Stiles said slowly, moving further into the living room but staying far enough away that he could bolt if she went crazy on him. “Why are you here, exactly?”

“Derek’s moping.” She rolled her eyes and shifted so she was sitting more comfortably. “He told me about what he did. The whole walking away from you thing.”

“Oh.” Stiles was startled, not having realized it had upset Derek so much. Then again, he’d written him a note, so he obviously felt bad. Still didn’t excuse it though.

“Here’s the thing,” Erica said, still grinning, “Derek is really good at his job. When he shows up, he gives it ten thousand percent, and that drains him. On a personal level, he’s super shy, kind of anti-social, socially awkward, and introverted. If he never had to leave his apartment, trust me, he wouldn’t. He’d just come home when you showed up, and couldn’t handle the interaction which is why he walked away. He wasn’t trying to be rude, and he definitely hates that he did it, but it was a bit much for him to handle. He called me after giving you the note,” she picked up the piece of paper still on the couch and waved it, “and said you still didn’t think that was good enough. I figured I’d come clear the air before he started crying like a baby.”

Her eyes shot to the wall and she grinned. Stiles frowned, turning to look at it, confused, then faced her again.

“Okay,” he said, crossing his arms. “So he needs his friends to explain these things? Why didn’t he just come over and tell me himself?”

Erica burst out laughing, shaking her head and slapping her knee. Stiles thought he heard a shout from next door, but it was way too loud in his own apartment to be sure.

“Oh honey, you’re so cute. Stiles, is it? I think he said your name was Stiles. Interesting name, by the way. Super cute.” She managed to calm herself down, smoothing out her skirt and clearing her throat. “Sweetheart, Derek is never going to speak to you face to face. Aside from the legitimate reasons that he walked away from you earlier, he also walked away because he couldn’t stand to look at you.”

Stiles’ heart hit his feet at those words, very much insulted and somewhat hurt. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Oh honey, relax, I didn’t mean it like that. I just meant that he loses the ability to speak when you’re in the vicinity. Painfully shy, like I said.” She grinned ferally at him. “The things he says about you when you can’t hear him, though? Boy’s got a mouth on him, and he likes to share what he’d do with yours.”

It took a few seconds for the words to register and as soon as they did, all the blood in Stiles’ body tried to invade his face, mouth opening and closing a few times. He almost wanted to fan himself, but realized how lame that would be and just kept staring.

“In case I need to spell it out for you, he thinks you’re cute.” Erica’s grin was positively gleeful, a glint in her eye and a loud, rambunctious laugh following her statement. “You’ll thank me later!”

Stiles stared at her a moment longer, wondering what she was talking about when her eyes flashed gold. He froze, mouth hanging open for a completely different reason.

“You’re a Werewolf.”

“Mmhm,” she said with a smile. “So’s Derek. You say some very flattering things about him.” She frowned then. “And unflattering. Sorry, he’s not my type, I’d never sleep with him. Besides, even if I wanted to, I lack an appendage.” She motioned Stiles’ groin. “One I see you have, so that’s lucky for you.”

“Wait,” Stiles said, brain still reeling from the admission along with the realization that his neighbour was a fucking Werewolf! “Wait, so you’re saying he didn’t talk to me because he likes me?”

“Mmhm,” she said again, still smiling. “I’d stick to passing notes for a little while, let him get his courage up to talk to you. Like I said, socially awkward and painfully shy, it’s a bad combo, it’ll take him a while.”

“Is that why he cooks for me?” Stiles blurted out.

“Mostly. I think even if he didn’t like you, he’d feel inclined after all the shit you put in your body, but he’s definitely been going overboard this weekend. Derek likes to talk using food, so try and keep up with his conversation, will you?” She winked at him then stood, bouncing once on her feet and tossing her curls over her shoulder. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna need you to come to the door with me and stand in the doorway while I make my escape. He’s less likely to chase me if you’re in the vicinity.”

Stiles didn’t know what to do or say so he numbly followed her to the door and opened it. When she exited the apartment, Derek’s door opened and, despite Erica’s words, he raced after her down the corridor while she bolted for the stairs. He stopped at the door, yelling obscenities at her while she cackled her way to the ground floor.

When he turned to storm back to his apartment, he froze when he found Stiles still in his doorway. Even from this distance, Stiles could see a flush creeping up the back of Derek’s neck, his ears turning pink.

He scowled and ducked his head, moving quickly past Stiles and disappearing back into his apartment with a slam. Stiles stayed motionless for a few seconds, then shut his door, staring at it.

His neighbour liked him.

“Huh.” Stiles had no idea how to react to this news. One half of him was elated and jumping up and down, but the other half was squinting suspiciously and going, “Why? Why does he like you?”

They’d never really spoken before, so it wasn’t like Derek knew anything about him. All he knew was that Stiles was in university and ate unhealthily, hence the food he was making. It wasn’t like Derek could listen in on his—

“Oh my God, he’s a Werewolf!” Stiles blurted out, realization finally clicking. Derek may not know Stiles, not the way humans got to know other people, but he knew Stiles! Because he could fucking hear him through the wall! 

“Oh my God!” Stiles tried to scream, but it came out high-pitched and almost silent. He’d been talking about his hot neighbour for months and had many, many, many embarrassing conversations with Scott on a regular basis.

Oh God! Oh God!

Running back to the couch, he dug around it for his phone and pulled it out of the cushions, dialling Scott while kneeling on the floor, elbows on the couch.

“Hey, what’s—”

“Oh my God!” Stiles blurted out, one hand burying in his hair. “Oh my God, Scott! My neighbour is a Werewolf! Oh my God, this is awful! This is terrible!”

Silence for a long moment, then Scott said, “What? I mean, why? What’s going on?” 

“Oh my God, Scotty!” Stiles wailed. “You don’t understand! My neighbour is a Werewolf! This is terrible!”

“Stiles, I’m a Werewolf,” Scott reminded him calmly, completely missing the point. How was it his best bro was so bad at bro-ing?!

“Yeah,” Stiles exclaimed, knowing he’d have to explain himself, “but you don’t live next door to me! You don’t live next door to me and you don’t listen to everything I do in my daily life! Like sing to myself, talk to myself, wax poetic about his awesomely amazing muscles.” He was getting off-track. Damn those muscles! “He can probably hear me right now! He can probably hear this entire conversation! Oh God!” He buried his face in the couch. “He can totally hear this conversation right now, if he’s a Werewolf! I need to soundproof my apartment!” He jerked back into a seated position. “Do you think soundproofing my apartment would work? Does soundproofing work against Werewolves? How do you guys hear? Is it like sonar? Are you a bat?”

He could practically feel Scott’s confusion from here.

“What?!” Scott demanded, completely lost.

“I need to soundproof my apartment, Scott! If I soundproof my apartment, does that mean you guys won’t be able to hear, or do you hear differently? Like, is it different? ‘Cause, I mean, you can hear through a classroom window and halfway across the quad to know someone needs a pen, so like, is it a range thing or can I soundproof the place? Scotty, what do I do?!”

Stiles didn’t appreciate the hyena impression from next door. He could hear Derek laughing his ass off through the wall, which meant he was probably laughing pretty hard.

“Also apparently he has a crush on me!” Stiles shouted, facing the wall.

The laughter stopped abruptly, and Stiles only felt slightly mollified.

“Whoa, wait, what?”

“Yeah. Apparently he walked off before because he couldn’t talk to me because he’s shy and socially awkward or something. So he just ran off.” Stiles paled. “And now he knows I thought he was rude. You’re not rude!” he shouted at the wall, holding one hand out towards it. “It’s all good, buddy! I get it! Embarrassed in front of your crush, happens to the best of us! Not that you have anything to be embarrassed about, because you’re gorgeous!”

Stiles felt his stomach hit his feet and he turned away from the wall, crouching down as if that would shield his voice a bit more and whispering into the phone. “Oh my God, Scott, I admitted I’d let him bend me over a table! Oh my God, this is the worst day of my entire life!”

“Well, I mean, maybe he wasn’t listening? It’s kind of rude to eavesdrop on your neighbours.”

“Do you do it?”

“Mrs. Cheng and her husband have the best arguments in the world, hell yes I do it.”

“He heard everything!” Stiles wailed, falling onto his ass and burying his face in his free hand. “This is the worst! Werewolves are so unfair and they suck!”

“As much as I love listening to your life fall apart around you—”

“Hey!” Stiles exclaimed, but Scott bulled on like he hadn’t spoken.

“—I gotta go. Kira’s making pie.”

“I want pie!” Stiles shouted, offended Scott was having pie without him.

“Ask your hot neighbour to make you pie.”

“I can’t just ask my hot neighbour to make me pie!” Stiles insisted, then remembered he could probably hear him and lowered his voice. “You suck, Scott. You suck hard.”

“Good night, Stiles.” 

Scott hung up.

Stiles huffed and threw the phone onto the couch, burying his face in both hands.

This was quite possibly the most embarrassing day of his life, and he’d asked Lydia to prom, so that was saying something.


It had taken every ounce of courage Stiles had to leave a book out for Derek. He’d put it in a plastic bag and waited until well past midnight before sneaking silently out of the apartment, dashing to the door, shoving the handle on the doorknob and then bolting back for his apartment.

Then he realized the letter was still on the table and he cursed before rushing back out to shove it into the bag and returning quickly.

It had been a hard one to write, given everything that had come to light, but if Erica was telling the truth—which he felt inclined to believe she was, she had literally zero reasons to lie, and Derek had looked murderous—Stiles wanted to try and get Derek more comfortable with him so that maybe they could have a real conversation.

Stiles was embarrassed too, okay! Maybe not shy, but he definitely knew he wasn’t someone people liked to talk to. Except, apparently Derek liked listening to him. A weird thought, and he hoped he kept his wolfy ears to himself when Stiles was having “private Stiles time” in the shower or in bed, but he would never know for sure!

Sighing and falling into one of the kitchen chairs, he buried his face in his hands, thinking about his note.

Derek,
So... Werewolf, huh? That’s cool. My best friend is a Werewolf, though you probably know that if you can smell him come and go. Figures he wouldn’t tell me about you.
Sorry for my off-key singing. And my talking to myself. And yelling at myself. And just everything about me. Sorry.
Anyway, you said you liked to read. As I was telling you downstairs, I got you some books I think you might like. We didn’t really establish your genre, but this one sounded pretty good so give it a try and if you like it, we’ll go from there.
Thanks again for the food, my stomach appreciates it.
Have a good night!
Stiles.

He hadn’t really known what to expect the following day, but he woke up to a bag on his doorknob with a re-sealable bag of chocolate covered pretzels and a reply from Derek.

I promise I don’t listen in as often as Erica made it sound. And your singing isn’t off-key. A little strident at times, but overall enjoyable to listen to. You have good taste in music.
People get weird when they find out I’m a Werewolf; I’m sorry if it makes you uncomfortable, I can’t always help what I can hear. But your friend is one, like you said, so hopefully you’re more accustomed to it and can tolerate it from me.
Thank you for the book. I started it last night. It’s interesting so far, I’ll let you know when I’ve finished it.
I thought you might like some snacks between lunch and dinner, you seem to like chewing on things and you have way too nice a smile to ruin your teeth chomping on your pen.
I’ll see you later. Enjoy your classes.
D.

Stiles could tell the page had been crumpled up and then smoothed back out, and he had to wonder if maybe Derek had said something he didn’t want to admit, but had decided “fuck it” and gone with it anyway.

Stiles was betting it was the smile comment, which had him flustered and embarrassed, because holy shit Derek knew he chewed on his pens! And that just reminded him of the comments Erica had made about Derek liking his mouth and the things he could do with it and it got him so worked up he had to go beat off in the shower before getting dressed and racing for the bus.

He forgot his lunch, and was pretty bummed about it, but he only had two morning classes so he figured he could hold out until two when he got home. It was a near miss, but he managed to make it back without buying something unhealthy and digging into his meal.

He hadn’t encountered Derek in the elevator today, but he knew they didn’t always meet there. Their schedules only coincided every now and again, but he was a little disappointed. He’d have liked to see him, even though it would be embarrassing.

He wrote Derek a reply while he thought about it, wishing he could give him something in return with the note but not wanting to just shove another book at him when he was still working on the last one.

Derek,
I’m glad you’re liking the book so far! That makes me happy to hear. I really dug deep to find you some good ones, so if you like that one, you should like the others I got and success!
Keep the book, by the way. Or donate it, whichever. I don’t really have much time to read, and I don’t have space for things to collect dust. I did get a Werewolf book, though. I was gonna read it and pass it to my friend, but given what I now know, I’ll share it with you first. You might get a kick out of it, since it’s pre-reveal. Those are always funny.
It’s cool that you’re a wolf, btw. I don’t care. Just, you know, embarrassed a little. But it’s fine. Thankfully my ego is the size of a raisin so nothing really wounds my pride anymore.
I hope you had a good day at work! What do you do, by the way?
Stiles.

He could hear Derek shuffling around in his apartment when he went to deliver the note. Normally he’d have knocked, but he was still a little too embarrassed to face him, and he honestly didn’t think Derek would answer. Besides, he kind of liked the whole note passing thing. It was fun.

And he didn’t want to force himself on Derek, anyway. If he had to run away when Stiles had just been waiting for the elevator with him, he’d probably instinctively slam his door in Stiles’ face upon seeing him, if he even opened the door at all.

Sliding the note under the door, he went back to his apartment to do some homework and hopefully have enough time to play video games later. Then again, he was falling behind on his quests on WoW and still needed to get his mining skills up.

He was halfway through one of his math worksheets, scratching at his head with the end of his pencil and chewing on a pretzel when he heard the distinct slide of paper at his door. He almost tripped over himself rushing to get the note, snatching it up and opening it so he could read.

The book is excellent, I’m almost done. Been reading it off and on all day. If you have another, I’d love it for tomorrow.
If you’re sure you don’t want the books back, thank you. This one might interest my sister, so if the ending doesn’t disappoint, I’ll send it to her. She’s in university, too, and always bemoaning the homework so a book might be a nice break for her.
I’m sorry about the eavesdropping. I’ll try to reign it in a little bit, but no promises. You’re pretty loud, even when you try not to be. Maybe bite down on something? Just a suggestion.

Stiles wanted to die reading those words. That meant Derek could hear him when he masturbated! Oh fucking Christ, Stiles wanted to crawl into a hole and fucking die!

As for work, I’m in the food industry. Allows flexibility and is why I always have leftovers.
What are you studying in school?
D.

Well, if Derek worked in the food industry, it explained a lot. He was probably a chef somewhere. But it was odd to hear him say he had flexibility, Stiles had always been under the impression that chefs had very little time for anything.

Shrugging, Stiles pulled out a fresh sheet of paper for his reply, writing it out as neatly as he could and adding a smiley face beside his name at the bottom.

Derek,
I’m glad you like it! I take full credit, I didn’t have any help choosing it at all, not an ounce of help, I’m just that awesome! Ignore the old man telling you otherwise, he’s senile.
But no, really, I’m super glad. Here’s the next book I chose. By myself. Alone. Without help. Hope it’s just as good!
That’s cool about your sister! Where is she going, if you don’t mind my asking? Does she like it? University is definitely killer, but it’s only a few years for me so hopefully I can graduate and move on.
Noted about the biting. Very noted. Gotcha. Awkward.
That’s cool about your work. To be honest, I thought you’d be something like a model or an actor who liked cooking on the side as a hobby. You already know I think you’re hot so, just diggin’ that grave of mine a little deeper!
I actually don’t know what I want to do after school ends. For now I’m in Sciences and just taking the usual classes - Chem, Bio, BioChem, Calc and English (mandatory). No set plans as of yet, so I guess I’ll play it by ear and decide in third year.
Do you like your job? I feel bad that you made all this food for me when it’s what you do for a living. You just gave me extras, right? You didn’t go out of your way? That makes me feel guilty.
Stiles :)

He was about to fold it up and put it in the bag he’d pulled out with the second book inside when he paused, eying the note. He contemplated for a few seconds, then decided fuck it, and unfolded it. At the bottom, he added a PS with his phone number. Ignoring how bold that was, even for him, he stuffed the note back into the bag and then got to his feet.

There was an old lady walking down the corridor when he exited his apartment but he just smiled and moved to Derek’s door, putting the bag on the doorknob and turning to head back to his home. He found the old lady watching him, and her face lit up at what he’d just done.

“Do you know Derek, too?” she asked, looked thrilled someone knew him, for some reason.

“Uh, sort of.” Stiles moved closer to his door, shoving his hands in his pockets. “I guess, yeah. He’d been making me food.”

“Oh, he’s such a dear,” she said, one hand coming up to her chest. “When my husband passed, he came by every day with something for me to make sure I was doing all right. It was hard, but he helped a lot. We have a standing brunch date the last Saturday of every month, and occasionally other weekends when he’s free, maybe you could join us. I’d love to meet some of his friends, he’s always so secretive.” She gave a little wiggle with a mischievous smile. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think he works for the government. FBI, CIA, that sort of thing.”

“With a body like that, I believe it,” Stiles admitted, then wished he’d said nothing because, not only could Derek hear him, but he had no idea how this woman felt about guys being into other guys.

“Oh dear,” she said, smiling sympathetically. “You can look all you want, but I’m afraid you’ll have a hard time catching his eye. He’s very interested in someone, keeps saying he’s trying to work up the nerve to speak to him.”

Stiles deflated a little. “Oh?” He frowned then, because Erica had said Derek had a crush on him, so maybe she was talking about him...?

Wishful thinking, but he said, “Do you happen to have a name?”

“Oh yes!” She laughed, shaking her head. “Unusual name, but it’s a young man named Stiles. Derek raves about him at length, it’s quite touching. He’s very smitten.”

Stiles was positive he’d gone to bed and woken up in an alternate dimension. His super gorgeous, amazingly kind, frustratingly talented neighbour that he had a definite crush on just from the little he knew about him alone was going to brunch with this little old lady and talking to her about his crush on Stiles.

That was the most adorable thing in the world.

“Really?” he asked, feeling warmth spreading through his chest.

“Oh yes. Now I’ve never met the young man, but I would like to think that—”

Just then, Derek’s door wrenched open and he poked his head out, pointedly not looking at Stiles and staring at the old lady almost pleadingly.

“Satomi, I see you’ve met Stiles.”

The woman started, then looked from Derek’s pink cheeks to Stiles’ embarrassed expression. Her face lit up like a Christmas tree.

“Oh goodness! You’re Stiles? Derek, you’re right, he is cute.”

Stiles heard Derek mutter something under his breath, probably murderous, but when he spoke, his tone was kind.

“Yes, very. He’s very cute. Brunch on Sunday?”

“Sounds lovely. Stiles, you should come!” She touched his arm and he could practically feel the anxiety from behind him so he smiled and shook his head.

“Sorry, now’s not a good time for me. School’s really ramping up. But next time?”

“Of course.” She patted his cheek, which startled him a little, but he supposed that she probably felt like she knew him after all the supposed gossip she’d gotten from Derek. “If you’d like to have brunch with an old woman and talk about Derek, feel free to come by whenever you like and we can chat. He doesn’t need to know.” She winked at him.

“I’m standing right here,” Derek grumbled.

“I know dear, but it’s rude to eavesdrop. I’ll see you on Sunday. It was nice meeting you, Stiles.”

She turned and wandered slowly down the corridor, stopping at the elevators. Stiles heard the lift ding a few seconds later, the gears turning to get it to their floor.

He rocked on his feet slightly, then turned around to look at Derek, who was staring right back with his cheeks still pink and his ears burning and a cute little scowl on his face. He was fucking adorable.

“She seems nice,” Stiles said with a smile.

Derek just scowled harder, but he nodded once, grabbed the bag, then shut his door. Stiles couldn’t help but smile a little. It was actually kind of adorable how shy Derek was. For someone so attractive, it was actually a nice quality, because most attractive people Stiles knew were assholes.

Well, except Danny, but that didn’t count. Danny’s whole family was attractive and kind, it was just in the genes, so it wasn’t a fair comparison.

Opening his door once more, he locked it and headed for the table when his phone went off. Ignoring it, he grabbed himself a Coke from the fridge and then fell back into his seat, pouring over his homework once more.

An hour later, when dinner was looming, he stood to heat up some food and pulled his phone from his pocket, staring at the unknown number that had texted him for a good five seconds before his heart started pounding double time and he realized who it was.

Opening the message, he read through it and smiled.

[Unknown Number]
Hey, it’s me
[Unknown Number]
Derek. Sorry. I shouldn’t assume you’d know that.
[Unknown Number]
Sorry about earlier with Satomi. She’s good people, but she likes to talk a lot.
[Unknown Number]
And thanks for the book, this one looks good. I’m twenty pages from the end of the last one, so I’ll get started on this one soon
[Unknown Number]
Enjoy your dinner.

Realizing Derek must be done with the book by now, he added his number to his phone and texted him back while his food continued to rotate in the microwave.

[User]
hey!
[User]
sorry, i was doing hwk
[User]
you must be done the book by now!!!!!
[User]
was it good? derek-approved?
[User]
i’m about to eat dinner now
[User]
not sure what it is but it smells great

He shoved his phone back into his pocket, expecting it to take a bit for a response, but was surprised to get one almost right away, pulling it back out and grinning.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Which one is it? I can let you know.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Yes, I finished the book. It was excellent. Are you sure you don’t want it back for a read?

Stiles checked the food in the microwave, trying to determine how best to describe it, then just gave up and took a photo of it before sending it.

[User]
yah it’s all good
[User]
you said your sister’d like it so go ahead and send it to her :)

The microwave beeped and he pulled the food out, blowing on it while grabbing some cutlery and moving to the table. He usually watched TV while he ate or browsed YouTube but he felt like he and Derek might text for a little while, and he would much rather that.

When he’d just taken his first bite, cursing because he burned his tongue, Derek texted back.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Thanks, she’ll be thrilled.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Did you burn yourself?
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Sorry, I wasn’t eavesdropping, I just heard you curse.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
That one’s Thai Chicken Curry with Basmati Rice and a side of beer-soaked carrots.

[User]
well it is delicious
[User]
and i did burn myself but i’m impatient when i eat
[User]
especially when the food’s good...

Stiles added a drooling emoticon and then put his phone down, taking another bite of his food. He went for the carrots this time, and managed not to completely destroy his palate. His tongue had that weird uncomfortable tingly feeling from the burn and it annoyed him because he felt like it was taking away from the deliciousness of the food.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Try and be more careful.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Food shouldn’t be inhaled that quickly.

[User]
yes dad :P

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Sorry. Force of habit from work.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Everything I eat is to be enjoyed.

[User]
i guess that makes sense
[User]
you being a chef and all
[User]
what’s it like? do you like it?
[User]
you never answered my question about whether or not you’re doing this in your free time

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Being a chef is fun. It’s different.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
It’s an experience, let’s put it that way.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
And I do like it, yes. A lot. It’s very fulfilling.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I used to cook all the time with my mother, it’s how I got interested.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
She and I still cook together when I go home sometimes.

[User]
that’s really nice :)
[User]
my dad and i are hopeless, it’s a miracle we survived this long
[User]
you’re probably the only thing keeping me alive right now.......

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Your mother doesn’t cook?

Stiles winced at the question, feeling it sting. It had been ten years by now, but it still hurt just as much now as it had back then.

[User]
she passed away when i was little

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I’m sorry to hear that.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I’m sure she would’ve been proud of how far you’ve come.

[User]
thanks :)

Nice as the comment was, Stiles didn’t want to sit there and dwell on his mother, so he instead chose to focus on Derek’s lack of response to a question he’d now asked twice.

[User]
stop avoiding the question O_O

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I really don’t mind cooking for you.

[User]
that means you DO cook for me specifically!
[User]
DEREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!
[User]
I feel BAD!

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
What?
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Don’t feel bad. I enjoy cooking.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Speaking of which, what kind of pie do you like?

[User]
Why?

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I heard you mention pie to your friend the other day. Do you like pie? I enjoy making pie.

[User]
you’re not making me pie!
[User]
.....
[User]
like, how MUCH do you like making pie?

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
A great deal :) I don’t get to bake a lot at work, so I enjoy making pastries when I’m at home.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
What kind of pie do you like?

[User]
what kind of pie do YOU like?

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Strawberry-Rhubarb but I don’t think that’ll work for you. I’d rather you NOT die by my hand.

Stiles was actually surprised Derek remembered he was allergic to strawberries. It was oddly considerate and he felt himself crushing even more.

The fact that they were now texting wasn’t helping with his crush, but at least he knew Derek thought he was cute and spoke about him to little old grannies.

[User]
pie would be a GREAT way to go though...

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I prefer you breathing.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
My second favourite pie is apple pie. With homemade vanilla bean ice cream. It’s delicious.

[User]
wait, are you telling me you can make ICE CREAM?!

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
What kind of pie do you want and I’ll make you some with ice cream.

[User]
apple sounds great, but i’m still reeling from the ice cream!
[User]
dude, what CAN’T you do?!

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Talk to people I like in person.

Stiles smiled a little at that, leaning back in his chair and folding one leg up under his butt, trying to get comfortable.

[User]
nobody can do that without freaking a little bit
[User]
not like i’m the picture of calm whenever i’m around you
[User]
Shit!
[User]
I just realized!

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
What?
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Realized what?

[User]
you’re a werewolf! means you totally smelled everything whenever we were in the elevators together!
[User]
UGH!
[User]
WHY?!

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
lol

Stiles hoped he actually was laughing next door, even if it was mostly at his expense. He found it nice texting Derek like this. He was the same as in the notes. Nice, funny, calm. Very different from how he was in person, but he supposed it made sense. Painfully shy people often came off as rude and abrasive, but he hoped if they kept this up, he’d mellow out and relax around Stiles.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Back to the pie.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
You sure you’re good with apple?

[User]
yup. apple is delicious.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Okay, I’ll make you some tomorrow.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Are you allergic to any shellfish?

[User]
not that i know of...
[User]
why...?

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I usually make Lobster Risotto when I make apple pie. Kind of an inside joke with Erica and Boyd.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
You can freeze one of the dinners you have and I’ll drop off some Risotto tomorrow with the pie.

[User]
dude, i don’t need a whole pie...

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Well what am I gonna do with the pie?

[User]
presumably eat it?
[User]
if you give me a pie
[User]
like, a WHOLE pie
[User]
i will eat it all in one sitting

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
All right, so only two pieces of pie for you, and I’ll deliver the rest as the week progresses.

[User]
probably a good idea :P
[User]
anyway
[User]
much as i like talking to you about delicious pie
[User]
i have homework

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Sorry, I didn’t mean to keep you.

[User]
i am MORE than okay with that :)
[User]
though before i go
[User]
super important question

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Sounds serious.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Shoot.

[User]
burgers and curly fries

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
What about them?
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Can I make them? Or do I like them?

[User]
let’s go with both

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Yes and yes.

[User]
i am going to kidnap you and chain you up in my kitchen
[User]
like a little house elf food slave
[User]
except, you know, not little since you’re like, what, 6 foot?

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I am six foot, yes.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Though can I stay chained in my own kitchen? I doubt you have half the tools I need.

[User]
you are correct
[User]
yes
[User]
very well
[User]
slave away in your own kitchen for me
[User]
but no seriously, can i like, pay you or something?

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I enjoy our notes and you’ve giving me books.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
That’s payment enough.

Reading that made Stiles smile, and he decided that, even though they were texting, he would continue writing Derek notes, as well. It was really sweet that he was so shy, he seemed fine on the phone, but Stiles just figured it was because he had time to stop and think about what to say. It wasn’t that easy in person, when a response was required immediately.

Realizing he’d gotten distracted again, he told Derek he really had to go and bid him good night. Derek responded in kind and Stiles put his phone away.

He did some more homework, trying to finish up his worksheet, then took a quick shower and called his dad. They caught each other up on everything and Stiles whispered to him about Derek, though it seemed to be a moot point since the sheriff didn’t understand a word he was saying and Stiles ended up almost shouting into the phone in frustration, which meant Derek definitely heard him.

He really needed to soundproof his apartment.

Before heading to bed, he went to grab a page from his notebook, realizing he was running low on pages and should buy a new book, and sat down to write another note for Derek.

Derek,
Thanks for keeping me company during dinner! And for the pie! I haven’t had it yet, but I’m sure it’ll be amazing. And HOMEMADE ICE CREAM WHAT?! Scott would be jealous. Shit, everyone would be jealous. This is amazing. I’m so excited! I can’t wait!
I’ve never had homemade ice cream. I mean, it’s probably the same as store-bought ice cream, but it just seems ten time cooler when it’s homemade. I don’t know man, it’s just neat, okay?
And the curry was SO GOOD. I didn’t want to gush while we were talking pie, but dude, oh my God, I always feel like I’m having a spiritual experience whenever I eat your food. You’re so amazing, you know that? I’m sure you do, but for real, WOW.
Anyway, I hope work goes well for you tomorrow! :) If you don’t have time to make the pie, I can wait. Seriously, you’ve been kind enough, and all I got you was a book.
Well, two, but you know, details.
Have a great morning! Tomorrow is cinnamon bun breakfast day for me, yum! You spoil me, I love it.
Let me know how the second book is!
Stiles.

He stood and exited the apartment, padding quietly to Derek’s and bending down to slide it under his door. He smiled to himself, hoping Derek would be pleased when he saw it.

He hadn’t even reached his door by the time he heard soft footsteps padding on the other side of Derek’s, and the shuffle of paper. Grinning, and hoping it made Derek smile, Stiles went back into his apartment and locked the door.


Stiles expected a note when he woke up the next day, but he wasn’t sad when he didn’t find one. He figured either Derek would text him or he’d give him the note later so he just got dressed for class and headed out. He was on the bus munching on the cinnamon bun—and wishing he’d eaten it warm and gooey at home—when his phone buzzed. He pulled it out to check it, and smiled.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Hope you have fun in class :)
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Don’t forget not to have dinner, I’m making Risotto and pie.

[User]
thanks!
[User]
and believe me, i won’t ;)
[User]
btw i would lick this icing off a fat man’s naked body, it’s that good

Derek’s response was slow coming, and Stiles had to wonder what he was thinking on the other end. Eventually, he just replied with a smiley face and said he was glad Stiles liked it. Stiles told him to have a good day at work and put his phone away.

For the first time in their lives, Stiles got to fawn and speak at length about someone he was interested in, and Scott had to listen—Lydia didn’t count, Scott was into her, too, it was mutual gushing. Usually, Stiles always got stuck hearing about Scott’s infatuations and dates, well now, it was Stiles’ turn. Now Stiles had a mega-hot, super sweet, amazingly awesome guy next door that he was totally into, and it was Scott’s turn to listen whether he wanted to or not.

He actually took it pretty well, which Stiles appreciated, and when they headed for lunch, he very kindly let Scott try some of his fish and potatoes as a reward—it was almost fish and chips, but apparently healthier. It was also fucking delicious, but at this point, he figured everything Derek made was delicious. 

“Where does he work?” Scott asked, shoving some fries into his mouth.

“I don’t know, we haven’t talked about it. But he works in the food industry, for sure.”

“With food like that, I’m not surprised.”

“He’s making me risotto and pie tonight!” Stiles said excitedly.

Scott eyed him warily. “Uh, a whole pie?”

“He was going to. I told him not to do that to me.”

“Good, I remember that time you ate that banana cream pie and threw up two hours later.”

“I was young back then!”

“Stiles, that was last year.”

“Like I said, young! Whose side are you on, anyway?!”

Stiles finished off his lunch, he and Scott arguing about whether or not he could be classed as “young” just one year ago, and parted ways to go to their next classes. He met up with Kira afterwards for coffee, and they waited for Scott to finish his last class of the day. Then, they headed for the bus together, climbing on with Stiles sitting alone in a double-seater behind Scott and Kira. A really huffy princess-type girl sat beside him and let out annoyed little sighs the entire ride while he leaned forward to talk to his friends, but he just ignored her.

When his stop came up, he heard her mutter, “finally” under her breath and Scott turned to scowl at her. Stiles just shrugged, squeezed past her—since she was apparently too good to stand up for him—and exited the bus.

He checked the mail when he got in, but only had two bills and some junk mail so he threw them all back in the box to be dealt with later. Heading upstairs, he entered his apartment and tossed his bag into the kitchen, falling onto his couch face first and groaning.

School was hard and stupid. He hated it.

He also had homework, but the class it was for wouldn’t come up again until the following week so he decided to just leave it for now. Instead, he started for his console, then thought better of it and stood, moving to the bag of books still on the table.

He pulled out the Werewolf book and fell onto the couch again, on his back this time. He opened it to the first page and began to read. By the time he was twenty pages in, he was positive someone was going to call the cops to have the moron harbouring a hyena arrested, because he was laughing so hard it actually hurt.

The book had the Werewolves communicating telepathically through some kind of Pack link. Stiles was in a Pack—with Scott, obviously—and there was no way he and Scott were psychically linked. No one in the Pack could read each other’s minds, that was fucking hilarious. And ridiculous.

And there seemed to be a lot of gratuitous nudity in this since all the Werewolves could turn into actual wolves.

According to their town Druid and Scott’s Emissary, Alan Deaton, that was only possible in special bloodlines. Scott was bitten, and when Deaton had moved to town when they were sixteen and agreed to be his Emissary, he had taught him all about the different bloodlines and what they could all do.

Turning into a wolf was extremely rare, reserved for only the oldest and purest of Werewolf bloodlines. Kind of like purebloods in Harry Potter, he supposed.

Except minus the pompous attitude.

He was still cackling away on the couch when he heard a door shut. Glancing up, he realized it sounded like Derek’s, and he wondered if he was about to get his food. Knowing Derek, he’d probably drop the food, knock, and then run. It was kind of adorable.

But, time ticked by and he heard no knock. He shrugged, figuring Derek had likely been going elsewhere or maybe it wasn’t even his door at all, but he heard movement outside his door and his eyes shot back up.

Derek was standing outside his door. And he had been for a good long while.

Holy shit, he’s going to knock, Stiles realized. Well, he was going to knock and stay, he should say, since Derek did knock every now and then.

It sounded like he was shifting his weight from foot to foot and Stiles just sat there and waited to see what he would do. When the knock finally came, it started out as one quiet tap, and then two extremely loud ones, Derek likely realizing he was knocking too quietly and then trying to compensate for it by going overboard.

Stiles set his book down and hurried to the door, grinning broadly when he pulled it open.

Derek looked ten shades of uncomfortable, gripping two tupperware containers with both hands, and a smaller one balanced on top of them. He had a red flush on his neck, his ears were pink, and he had a frown when he looked at a spot behind Stiles’ head.

He was so fucking cute, Stiles wanted to just hug him and tell him he was doing so great!

“Hey!” he said cheerfully. Stiles was fine dominating the conversation, and maybe if he talked enough, Derek would relax and stop looking like he was trying to give himself knots in his shoulders and back. “I was wondering when you’d come by. Don’t worry, I didn’t eat anything, I saved up plenty of room for this meal. I don’t think I’ve ever had lobster, so this should be an experience. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever had risotto, either, so double-win! And—I’m still so psyched about the ice cream! Like, seriously, did you actually make this?”

Stiles reached out and grabbed the top container, opening it and sniffing, grinning broadly before looking up at Derek again. His eyes shot away from his face, meaning he’d been looking at him while Stiles had been distracted.

“Seriously, you’re amazing. Wherever you work, they’re lucky to have you. Did you want to come in?”

Derek’s head did a weird jerky movement, but Stiles interpreted it correctly as a no.

“That’s cool, you probably had a long day and want to just hang out at home. Oh, before I forget!” Stiles turned and hurried to his table, setting the ice cream down and rooting through the bag of books. He grabbed a new one and rushed back to the door, Derek having held it open with one hand.

“Here. A book for some risotto and pie.” He held it out and Derek practically shoved the tupperware at him. He looked crestfallen when Stiles winced, but he just grinned at him again and Derek relaxed a little, taking the book with a bit more care.

“I hope it’s good! Let me know about the second one you read, too, okay? When you’re done, obviously.”

Derek nodded, looking at the book, then turned and strode back to his apartment, disappearing inside it. Stiles had barely gotten his door shut when he heard Derek snarl,

“Fucking idiot.”

He was sad to hear that Derek was beating himself up, because Stiles knew what it was like to be that shy. Not personally, of course, but Scott had been shy when they were little, and his friend Heather had been almost as bad as Derek was. Some people really had a hard time, especially with new people, or ones they were interested in.

Stiles didn’t mind, he thought it was cute. He felt bad for him, because Derek obviously hated it, but it was still fucking adorable.

When he brought the food to the table, he saw a piece of paper between the two tupperwares and smiled, starting to reach for it when his phone went off. He checked it quickly, then gave up on the note when he saw Derek’s name.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Sorry.

[User]
for what?
[User]
you knocked on my door and didn’t run away
[User]
progress, i say :P
[User]
besides, i talk a lot
[User]
i should be the one apologizing

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I like it when you talk.

Stiles smiled at that, doing a little happy dance on the spot. No one ever said that to him, they usually found him annoying. Stiles could really only be tolerated by old friends—like Scott—and extremely calm, and patient people—like Kira.

He supposed that was probably how Derek and his friend Erica had become so close. Derek had told him in another note that they were childhood friends, so he figured that Derek had grown up with her and, while shy, having someone else lead the conversation had probably helped him keep that friendship strong.

He was glad Derek had her, he didn’t like thinking of him being lonely.

[User]
:)
[User]
well, i talk a lot so that’s good
[User]
i’m gonna put the ice cream in the freezer

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Good idea.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
The apple pie should still be warm-ish, but you might need to re-heat it if you want the ice cream to melt a little.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Risotto is fresh out of the pot, so it should be good to eat now.

[User]
i will DEVOUR it this instant, then!

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I hope you like it :)

[User]
you have yet to disappoint me

Stiles put the ice cream in the freezer and the pie in the microwave, but didn’t turn it on. He sat down at the table with a spoon, opening the tupperware of risotto and smelling it while steam wafted off it. His mouth watered, but he forced himself to read the note first, because he’d get distracted by the food if he didn’t.

He grinned when he saw Derek address him. Usually he just started the note, but now he had his name on the top.

Stiles,
I’m honestly truly happy you like my food, it means a lot to me. Cooking is kind of an extension of who I am, so having someone like it and appreciate it as much as you do is amazing, and I’m really grateful for that. 
And don’t sell yourself short, it’s hard to find good books these days, and you’ve gotten two really good ones without even knowing my preferences. I might keep YOU as an official book-chooser or something. Seriously, I’m really liking the second one, it’s been amazing. You have good taste, considering you haven’t even read them.
I have tons of time to make the pie, don’t worry. And the risotto, but I’ll make that closer to when you get home so you can enjoy it while it’s still warm. Risotto is one of my favourite things to eat, so I hope you like it.
I’ll see what I can do about burgers and curly fries, maybe on the weekend. You can just freeze another dinner. What kind of burgers do you like? Bacon cheeseburger? Mushroom Swiss? How do you like your patties? And condiments? What about the curly fries, do you want them original or Cajun or garlic pepper? Or something else? A bit of all three? Let me know and I’ll grab some ingredients.
Enjoy your evening!
Derek.

“Oh my God, marry me,” Stiles insisted to the piece of paper. He ignored that Derek could probably hear him and just hoped he wasn’t listening. Even if he was, maybe it’d be a confidence boost for him. Stiles felt like he really underplayed how good of a chef he was. He really hoped Derek was the head chef wherever he worked.

Putting the note down to respond to later, he grabbed his spoon and dug it into the risotto. He made sure to grab a piece of lobster as well as the rice itself and then blew on it so it wouldn’t burn him. When he stuck it in his mouth and started chewing, his eyes slid shut and he bowed his head, letting out the most obscene moan he had ever heard escape him.

“Oh my God,” he said around his bite of food. “Oh God, can you marry food?” Stiles stuck another bite in his mouth and groaned, banging one fist on the table. “What? What? God, stop it, you’ve ruined food for me.”

He didn’t know if Derek was listening, but he hoped he was, even though he was a little embarrassed at how many erotic sounds escaped him while he was eating. He literally thought he was having an out-of-body experience right now, this was phenomenal.

His phone went off while he was still eating, and he almost ignored it when he realized it was his dad calling. He could never not answer his dad, so he swiped the bottom and put it on speaker, not trusting himself to hold the phone right now.

“Dad, you are interrupting a veritable spiritual experience for me right now.”

“What exactly does that mean?” his dad asked slowly, uncertainly.

“Derek made me lobster risotto. I have never had lobster risotto. If I could transfer this flavour to you through the phone, I would.” He frowned. “Actually, I wouldn’t, one less bite for me.” He shoved a spoonful in his mouth and groaned again, tilting his head back and almost whining.

"That must be some risotto.”

“Dad. Spiritual experience. It’s truly happening.”

“Should I call back? I don’t want to interrupt you and your, uh, experience.” 

Stiles sighed dramatically, putting his spoon down. “No, it’s fine. I’ll finish having my moment when we’ve hung up. How’s it going? How’s work?”

“Work’s good. Things are going well. Parrish was hurt the other day, but he’s recovering nicely considering his Supernatural physiology.”

“Ah, good ol’ Parrish. He still watching your calorie intake for me?”

“Unfortunately,” his father grumbled.

“Dad, it’s for your own good, and you know it. I know it’s boring eating healthy, but I’d like you to live to see your grandkids, just sayin’.”

“If I get any, at the speed you’re going.”

“Hey, hey!” Stiles pointed at the phone. “I’ll have you know, my love life is progressing exceptionally well. Derek and I text and pass notes every day, and he even almost spoke to me when he gave me the risotto.”

“I remember how hard it was for Heather when you were all little. It’s a shame he’s having such a hard time, he sounds like a good guy.”

“He’s a great guy,” Stiles said with a small smile. It slid off his face and he turned to squint at the wall. “A great guy who’s definitely not eavesdropping right now.”

His father chuckled at that and started asking about his classes. They chatted for a little bit, Stiles playing with his risotto, occasionally taking a bite and silently having a moment.

The happy, light conversation turned slightly sour when his father said, “Are you coming home next weekend?”

“For what?” he asked, licking at the spoon.

His father was quiet for a few moments, and then Stiles knew what day it was. He put the spoon back into the unfinished risotto.

“I hadn’t thought about it.”

“No pressure, Stiles. I know it’s hard for you. I just want you to be happy, kiddo.”

He hummed in response, staring down at his meal, having lost his appetite. His moment was gone.

“Just let me know, okay? You can either drive down or I can book you a flight.”

“I’ll come,” he said.

“Stiles, you don’t—”

“I want to. I want to spend time with you, and it’ll be good to go visit. I’ll even let you have some curly fries.” He half-smiled and he could feel his dad doing the same on the other end, even if he couldn’t see him.

“Okay. Did you want me to book you a flight?”

“No thanks. I’ll drive. It’ll help clear my head. Maybe ask Scott and Kira if they wanna head home for the weekend.”

“All right. I’ll organize the day.”

“Yeah.”

“Stiles?” He grunted in response. “I love you.”

“Love you too, Pops.”

“Good night.”

“Yeah, night.”

He hung up the phone and let out a small sigh, rubbing at his face.

Next weekend was his mother’s birthday.

He hadn’t forgotten, not really. He thought about it occasionally, but he always forced the reminder viciously away, not wanting to be sad and depressed. It was hard enough on the day without angsting about it for the whole month leading up to it.

Annoyed he wasn’t hungry anymore, he pulled the spoon out and snapped the lid back into place, standing to put his food in the fridge. He turned and got the pie out of the microwave, adding that to the fridge as well.

When he sat back down, he pulled his phone closer and opened his messages with Derek.

[User]
the risotto was delicious
[User]
like, embarrassingly delicious
[User]
not really in the mood for pie though

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I heard ;)
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
That’s okay
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I know your dad called. I didn’t listen in, I put on some headphones.

[User]
thanks

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Everything okay?

[User]
yeah

Stiles hesitated, then decided he and Derek were kind of in that weird friendship zone where they were friends but not exactly friends. He figured if he wanted to move any of this forward, he’d need to tell him a bit more about himself. School and what kind of pie he liked didn’t really qualify. 

[User]
it’s my mom’s birthday next weekend
[User]
i’m gonna head home to spend it with my dad

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I think he would like that very much.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I’m sorry it’s such a difficult time for you.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
If you need anything, let me know.

[User]
thanks
[User]
are you close with your family?

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I am.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
My mom and dad live back home in California.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
My older sister lives in LA, and my younger sister is going to university in Germany.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
We try and get together twice a year, at least. It’s hard sometimes with everyone’s schedules, but we figure it out.

[User]
that’s really nice
[User]
i’ve just got my dad
[User]
i chose this school because it’s close enough to home for me to drive
[User]
nine hours, but still close
[User]
i want to stay after I graduate, but I guess we’ll see how he’s doing by then

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I think it’s really great you care about your dad so much.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
He raised a great son.

Stiles smiled at that, rolling his eyes a little at how sappy Derek was getting, but it was nice. It was making his chest hurt a little less.

[User]
thanks
[User]
i worry about him a lot though
[User]
as we both know, i can’t cook, but when i lived with him i watched what he ate
[User]
i’m kind of nervous to see how he’s fared while i was gone

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Does your dad need to be careful with what he eats?

Stiles gave him the cliffnotes version of his father’s condition, and Derek was quiet for a while afterwards. Stiles wasn’t sure what he was doing, but he got a page out of his notebook and was writing back a note when Derek finally replied.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
How are you getting home?

[User]
driving, why?

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I found a lot of recipes I think your dad would like.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Healthy but flavourful.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
If you let me know when you’re leaving, I can make some of it for you to bring back home to him.

Stiles was already emotional from his mother’s birthday coming up, and reading that just made his eyes water. He wiped at them viciously with his hands, unwilling to cry, but it was literally the nicest thing anyone could ever say to him.

[User]
derek, you don’t have to do that

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I know I don’t, but I want to.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
You’re a good person, Stiles. I want to help, and this is all I can do for you.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Does he have any allergies?

[User]
you’re an AMAZING person
[User]
seriously, thank you
[User]
you totally don’t have to do this

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I want to :)
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
It’ll help me try new things, too
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
So really, you’re helping me :)

[User]
you’re literally too good to be true
[User]
thank you so much
[User]
and no, no allergies

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Great. Just let me know when you’re thinking of leaving, and I’ll make some things that freeze well.

[User]
thanks derek
[User]
i mean it, this means a lot to me
[User]
my dad is the most important person in the world to me

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I’m just glad I can help :)
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
You should go relax for a while
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Watch some TV and just shut everything out
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
And get to bed early

[User]
thanks, i will
[User]
sorry about the pie

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
It’s just pie, Stiles
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
And I’m not worried about it going to waste

[User]
i know, but you made it especially for me today
[User]
and i feel bad

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Don’t feel bad.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Like I said, I have no doubt it will be eaten.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
You can enjoy it tomorrow :)

[User]
BUT TOMORROW IS CHOCOLATE CAKE DAY!

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
lol
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Big chocolate cake fan?

[User]
i love chocolate cake, dude
[User]
and curly fries
[User]
and burgers

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I’ll see what I can do this weekend
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Now go relax!
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Good night Stiles.

[User]
night derek
[User]
and thanks :)

Stiles put his phone away and watched television for the rest of the night, some random show on Netflix that he barely paid attention to. He kept thinking back to what Derek had said, about making food for his dad, and it made him smile every time.

Derek looked so mean and grumpy all the time, it was so hard to believe they were the same two people when they texted and wrote notes. It was easier now to tell how shy and embarrassed Derek was whenever they met in person, but he felt bad that he could only feel confident like that over the phone—or on paper. He was such an amazing guy, and Stiles was definitely going to get a date with him.

A real one, in person, the two of them.

Hell, he might even wear a fancy suit.


Scott came over on Friday to play some video games and ended up spending the night because he was too lazy to go home. Stiles didn’t mind, it wasn’t much different from high school except his father wasn’t around to sigh at them when he found them both sleeping in odd positions around his room.

Scott was lounging around on the couch on Saturday afternoon, showing no signs of leaving any time soon while Stiles sat sideways on the end, back against the arm-rest. They were watching some weird B-rated movie on TV when Stiles got a text message from Derek.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Is your friend staying for dinner?

Honestly not sure, Stiles looked up at Scott and nudged him with his foot, his friend letting out a grunt.

“When are you leaving?”

“Kira wants to see a movie at eight, so probably around seven.”

Before Stiles could even text back, Derek had sent him a new message.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
What kind of burger does he like? And does he want curly fries?

Stiles had completely forgotten Derek’s promise of making him a burger for the weekend. He felt bad about him making extras for Scott though, he already felt like he got more food than he deserved. A book every few days was not payment enough.

[User]
don’t worry about it
[User]
you can just make it another time for me :)
[User]
or wait until after 7, I can hold out :)

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I don’t mind.

[User]
i don’t mind either, i can wait.
[User]
you’re doing me a favour so, really, it’s cool

Stiles put his phone away, but gave Scott a weird look when he propped himself up, frowning at the far wall. Then, he grinned and sat up properly, swinging his legs over the side.

“Hell yeah I like burgers!”

Stiles’ head shot towards the wall. “Hey! No fair!”

“What’s not fair is you hogging the good stuff,” Scott insisted. “Yeah dude, well done’s great. Sure, cheddar. Nah, no bacon for me. Oh sweet, yeah! If you want. Sure!”

Stiles just glared at Scott while he and Derek had a conversation through the wall about dinner. It irked him a lot, because Derek was nice enough to make him food, and he didn’t want him to feel obligated to make any for Scott just because he was there. Apparently he didn’t have a say in the matter though, because they just kept having a conversation through the wall, and Stiles found out when Scott exclaimed happily about some cake that Derek had also made him a chocolate lava cake since he had expressed his love for chocolate cake earlier in the week.

“Stop spoiling me!” Stiles insisted to the wall. “Do you have any idea how guilty I feel?!”

Scott tilted his head, then grinned. “He says the books and notes are payment enough.”

“No they’re not!” Stiles insisted, pouting. “You spend so much money on this food!”

When Scott tilted his head again, he frowned and shrugged. “No reply.”

Then Stiles’ phone went off. Realizing Derek was texting him again, Scott lay back down to veg and continued watching the movie while Stiles read his messages.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I don’t like that you feel bad about it
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I promise, it’s fine
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I don’t mind at all, and I like your company :)

[User]
food is expensive!

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
It is
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Look, can we just go with I’m not lacking in funds and leave it at that?
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Please?
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I like making food for you, and I don’t want your money.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I’m happy with the books, the texting and the notes. They make me happier than your money ever would.

[User]
i feel bad though :(
[User]
can i do something else for you?
[User]
like your laundry or something...?

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Actually, there is something

[User]
name it

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I’m going away at the end of the month, but that’s usually the weekend I go for brunch with Satomi.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I mean, we go every now and then whenever we both feel like it, but she and her husband used to play Bridge on the last Saturday of the month, and it’s hard for her being alone.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Would you mind going to brunch with her?

[User]
that’s it?
[User]
dude yes. that sounds amazing.
[User]
how is that even a favour?
[User]
she’s a nice lady

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
She is :)
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Thanks
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I’ll let her know and coordinate the times. I’ll make the reservation and everything so all you have to do is pick her up and drive her there and back.

[User]
sure :)
[User]
i can grill her for all the fun gossip about this “Stiles” guy you like ;)

Derek sent him back a face-palm emoticon, and then a blushy-face one and Stiles laughed.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Shut up
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Asshole

[User]
you like me this way ;)

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
No offense, but what kind of name is Stiles, anyway?

[User]
subtle
[User]
nice segue, way to change topics like a pro :P
[User]
it’s a nickname
[User]
my real name is mieczyslaw stilinski
[User]
i couldn’t pronounce it when i was little, i kept saying mischief, apparently
[User]
so my parents started calling me stiles

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Uh...
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
How DO you say that...?

Stiles laughed and then said, “Mieczyslaw.”

“Bless you,” Scott said. Stiles nudged him with his foot, and waited for Derek to respond.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
That’s quite the mouthful.

[User]
hence stiles

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I like your name though
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
It’s different.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Russian?

[User]
polish
[User]
mom’s side

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I like it

[User]
you don’t have to like it you know
[User]
i kind of hate it

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I DO like it
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
It’s different
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Also while I think of it, I need some of those containers back

“Oh shit!” Stiles actually had most of them cleaned except for one set he had in the freezer and two he still had in his fridge. He hurried to his kitchen, ignoring Scott’s inquiry of what he was doing. He hastily pulled the two out and transferred them to his own containers, then went about washing and drying them before stacking them and all the other clean ones on his counter into a plastic bag.

When he checked his phone again, Derek had texted back.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I didn’t say that so you’d do the dishes

[User]
nah, most were already clean and on my counter
[User]
i just emptied out the last two into my own tupperware
[User]
i’ll bring them over

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Wait until the food’s done
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I’ll text you and we can exchange

[User]
OMG!
[User]
will you actually ANSWER THE DOOR if i knock????

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Shut up

Another blushy-faced emoticon followed that statement and Stiles literally felt like he was dying from the adorableness. Derek was so fucking cute, he loved him. He seriously did. It was so weird to think of that tall, gorgeous, sexy man being this adorable. Stiles never would’ve pictured Derek how he looked if he’d only ever texted with him and never seen him.

[User]
sounds good :)
[User]
just let me know when to come over.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Will do.

Stiles went back to the couch, where he decided he’d had enough of the bad movie and instead went to his TV on demand. He and Scott argued about movies for a little while before settling on one they were both happy with, for the most part. Stiles slouched in his seat and Scott rolled onto his back, feet in Stiles’ lap, and they sat in silence while they watched.

Near the climax of the movie, Stiles’ phone went off again and he checked it to see a new text from Derek.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Food’s ready.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Take your time coming over

[User]
no way man
[User]
omw
[User]
it’s like ripping off a bandaid :P

He paused the movie, Scott turning to give him an annoyed look and he pointed his finger at him.

“Hey, you’re the one who wanted food.”

He perked up instantly and sat up, watching Stiles head for the kitchen. He picked up the bag and left the apartment, walking next door and knocking loudly. He heard movement on the other side, and then footsteps padding to the door. When they stopped, it took a good five seconds before the lock clicked and the door opened.

Stiles beamed at Derek, the other looking just as scowly and pink-faced as normal.

“Hey Derek! I really hope you didn’t go out of your way to make Scott food, he’s totally not worth it.” Stiles held out the bag, and the way Derek tilted his head and almost smiled suggested Scott had said something rude next door. He hesitated before reaching out for the bag, as if trying to figure out a way to grab it without accidentally touching Stiles. If Stiles didn’t know any better, he’d think Derek was worried about cooties.

Eventually, he just grabbed the handle and Stiles let go. Derek nodded in thanks, scowled some more, and actually spoke.

“Come in.”

“Cool, thanks!” Stiles was so fucking proud he wanted to hug him, but thought that might make things worse.

When Derek stepped aside and Stiles entered the apartment, he stopped so abruptly he felt Derek almost walk into him.

Despite being neighbours, Stiles was only renting whereas Derek clearly owned. His entire apartment was completely renovated, with rich brown hardwood floors and marble countertops. He had white cabinets, all brand new appliances in his kitchen, a 50 inch television in his living room along with a wrap-around couch and a killer-looking sound system. For someone who didn’t like TV and movies, he had a great setup.

“Dude,” Stiles said, moving further into the unit and looking around. “Your apartment is amazing. Holy shit.” He wandered over to the couch and reached down to touch it. It was pliable under his hand and when he turned to sit on it, he almost melted into it, it was so soft.

“Oh my God,” he insisted, settling in further. “Oh God, I love this couch, what the hell?” He turned to grin at Derek, and found him standing by the kitchen counter, scowling at him. Stiles hastily stood, embarrassment creeping up his spine. “Sorry! I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have just...” He motioned behind him vaguely. “My bad. It just looked really soft. Sorry.”

He cleared his throat and moved back to the kitchen, keeping his hands to himself despite wanting to touch virtually everything. He looked at all the appliances, seeing a fancy looking slow cooker, a bread maker, a rice cooker, what looked like one of those things to roll out pasta and something called a “Thermomix.”

“Wow dude, you are totally set in here.”

Derek said nothing and when Stiles focussed on him again, he found him staring at his mouth. His eyes shot up when he realized Stiles was looking at him and he turned away, the flush on his neck reddening, when he grabbed three large containers from behind him.

When he turned back, Stiles saw the bottom two had the burgers and curly fries, and the top one had two mini lava cakes, nestled together side by side.

“You are so fucking awesome,” Stiles insisted, taking the containers from him and being sure to touch Derek’s hands while doing so, because he was an asshole. Derek inhaled deeply at the action, but said nothing. “Thanks Derek. Seriously, you’re like... I swear, you’re amazing. This is so awesome. I’d offer to cook for you one day, but I don’t wanna kill you, so...” He shrugged and grinned. Derek almost smiled again, the red creeping further up his neck. “You are so fucking adorable,” he blurted out before he could stop himself.

Derek seemed startled at that and Stiles felt his own face starting to burn. Coughing once, he looked away quickly and licked his lips.

“Well. Thank you. I’m leaving now. Um—I’ll text you later.” He turned to rush for the door, but Derek spoke again.

“Wait.”

Stiles almost tripped in his haste to turn around. Derek stared at him for a second, then disappeared around the corner out of sight. Stiles heard the freezer door open, and then shut. Derek re-emerged with another smaller container, this one looking like it had ice cream in it. It was in regular tupperware instead of an ice cream container, further proving that he made his own ice cream.

“For the cakes,” he muttered, avoiding Stiles’ eyes.

“Right! Thank you!” Stiles shifted slightly so that Derek could put the container on top and then grinned at him. “You’re the best.”

Derek looked pleased to hear that, despite barely changing his facial expressions. It was the eyes, Stiles thought. They looked brighter.

He turned to head for the door, and Derek moved to open it for him. Stiles thanked him again and exited the apartment, moving to his own door and kicking it with his foot until Scott came to open it.

“That looks awesome!” Scott exclaimed, shutting and locking the door behind Stiles while he headed for the kitchen. “Holy shit, dude.”

“Right?!” Stiles insisted.

He put the cakes in the microwave and the ice cream in the freezer, then pulled out two plates. Neither of the burgers had condiments on them, but he figured Derek had just played it safe so Stiles took ketchup and mustard out of the fridge.

He had a regular bacon cheeseburger with fried pickles and a side of Cajun curly fries while Scott’s burger looked like it had caramelized onions, cheddar cheese, roasted tomatoes and some kind of pesto sauce, which had him skipping on the condiments. He looked like he had the same side of Cajun curly fries.

When they sat down to eat, Scott started to unpause the movie, but Stiles stopped him.

“Dude. This is an experience. You’re gonna wanna pay attention.”

Rolling his eyes, Scott took a bite of his burger, clearly not believing him.

He believed him after the bite, because Scott started making uncomfortable noises beside him. To be fair, Stiles’ were just as disturbing. His burger was so fucking perfect, Derek had ruined burgers for him forever. And the Cajun curly fries were fucking amazing. They just sat there eating, making weird noises, and then having weird moaning, mouth-full conversations at one another.

“Dude,” Scott said when they’d both finished. “You eat like this every day?”

“For the past week,” he agreed with a grin. “Isn’t he amazing? He’s so amazing.” He turned to the wall. “You’re amazing, Derek!”

When his phone chimed, he laughed at the message.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Thank you :)

“Can we have the cake?” Scott asked.

“Hell yeah we’re having cake!” Stiles insisted. He took their plates and went to the kitchen, setting them in the sink before pulling two fresh ones out and getting the cakes out of the microwave. They were still relatively warm, so he dug a few scoops of ice cream out onto them both, grabbed two spoons, and headed back for the couch.

If possible, the noises Stiles made eating the cake were even more embarrassing than the ones he’d made eating the burger. He wanted to marry this cake. The middle was warm and gooey, the ice cream was a perfect pair with the fluffy outer part of the cake, and he had no shame in licking the plate once he was done, because he definitely needed more than what he’d just eaten.

“Can I live here?”

“I saw him first,” Stiles insisted.

“You can have him, I just want his food.”

“No, he’s my house elf food slave!”

Scott rolled his eyes, but just handed his plate back to Stiles when he held his hand out for it. Setting that in the sink as well, they unpaused the movie and managed to get it finished before Scott had to leave. He called goodbye to Derek through the wall, thumped Stiles on the back—rather painfully, he forgot Stiles was fragile—and then left the apartment.

After locking the door behind him, Stiles fell onto the couch and pulled out his phone, texting Derek again.

[User]
i’d be more embarrassed about those sounds if you didn’t deserve every one of them.
[User]
i swear, dude
[User]
wherever you work, they better appreciate you

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
They do :)
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I’m glad you liked it
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I was worried, you made it sound like the burger and fries would make or break this friendship of ours. I was feeling the pressure.

[User]
our friendship is rock solid, dude
[User]
you might outrank scott
[User]
also, sorry about just making myself comfortable on your couch :S
[User]
it looked soft and i just kind of went for it...

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I wasn’t upset
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I know my face can be hard to read
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I didn’t mind, don’t worry :)

[User]
still
[User]
it was kind of rude of me

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Not rude
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Besides

Stiles waited for him to finish, but after two minutes, he got nothing. Assuming maybe he’d gotten a call or been distracted, he was about to get up to clean up his kitchen and wash some dishes when he got another text.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Any plans for tomorrow?

“Oh no you don’t,” Stiles insisted.

[User]
besides what????
[User]
you can’t just say that
[User]
and then pretend it never happened

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Yes I can.

[User]
no you can’t
[User]
besides what O_O

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Nothing.

“Derek,” Stiles whined, and started to text his name to him in all caps when Derek replied.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Don’t say my name like that.

“Like what?” Stiles asked, grinning at his wall. “Derek,” he whined again. “Or maybe you’d rather,” lowering his voice, he went for his best husky bedroom voice and almost moaned, “Derek.”

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Don’t!

“Why?” he asked, still using the same voice and biting his bottom lip, even though he knew Derek couldn’t see him. It helped him keep the voice going. “Does it make you uncomfortable?”

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Stiles!

“Derek,” he half-moaned again, sliding one hand up his throat. He was actually sort of turning himself on, especially imagining how flustered Derek was probably getting next door.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
YOU SMELL GOOD!
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
You sat down so my couch smelled like you just the faintest bit
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Okay?!
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Now stop with the voice!

Stiles grinned, loving that he’d gotten him to cave, and just sent back a winky face.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I’m making your food for the week tomorrow
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Any requests?

[User]
dude, no!
[User]
you can’t just keep making food for me!

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I want to

Stiles sighed, staring down at those three words and feeling frustrated. He liked that Derek enjoyed making him food, but he wanted this to be more of a give and take relationship. So far, Stiles felt like Derek was all give and he was all take.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I know you feel guilty
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
And you’ve made it clear you think you owe me something
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
But what Erica told you is true
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Just let me make you food.

Stiles frowned, trying to remember what she’d said that he was referring to, and seemed to recall her mentioning something about him using food to converse with people and to keep up with the conversation or something. Sighing, he raked a hand through his hair.

[User]
you can do as you like
[User]
but please don’t feel obligated
[User]
i promise i’ll still talk to you even if you don’t make me any food

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
That’s a relief
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
And here I thought you were just using me.

He sent an eye-rolling emoticon after that and Stiles snorted, texting back that he was an asshole and he had dishes to do. He shoved his phone back in his pocket and got to work on the dishes, cleaning and drying the tupperwares and putting the plates in the dishwasher. He set the plastic tubs on the counter, and then realized it was still Derek’s turn with the notes.

Then again, Derek seemed to like getting them so he decided it wouldn’t hurt to write a new one. Ripping a page from his book, he sat down and wrote him a long, lengthy note about how amazing the burger was, along with a story of the first time he’d ever had a burger and curly fries. It had been with his dad when he was probably seven or eight. His mother had already been sick, but still alive. His dad had noticed how depressed he seemed lately due to his mother’s ailing health and had brought him to a diner near the police station where he’d been introduced to the best food on earth.

Stiles was sure he’d had a burger and fries before that day, but he was likely too young to remember. He just really liked to pretend that one encounter was his first time, because he remembered crying while eating the curly fries—because of his mom, not the fries—and his dad had wiped his face off with a napkin and hugged him against his side while they both ate. It was a happy and sad memory all rolled into one.

I really love my dad.

Stiles wrote, because he never got tired of telling people how amazing his father was.

He had a hard life after mom passed, and he did the best he could with an ADHD kid who had a Werewolf for a best friend. Lots of crazy shit happened, and most days I think he’s convinced I’m still alive because my mom’s watching over me.
He means so much to me. I’d love for you to meet him sometime. I feel like he’d really like you. 

He finished off by going off on a tangent about his dad’s obsession with sports and then decided that two and a half pages was long enough and bid Derek good night. Standing while folding the pages together, he headed for his door and exited the apartment, moving to Derek’s and sliding it under his door. He heard him move beyond the barrier, footsteps padding to the front door, but he just headed back to his own apartment.

He vegged on the couch for a few hours, then took a shower and went to bed early, pulling out his Werewolf book and having a laugh about it while lying in bed. At quarter to eleven, he saved his page and tossed the book onto his night stand.

“Night Derek!” he called loudly.

There was no reply, but his phone buzzed a few seconds later. He didn’t bother to check it, knowing it was just Derek’s own good night wishes.

Rolling onto his side, he closed his eyes and tried to get to sleep. His brain was a flurry of activity though, and for some reason it kept going back to earlier, when he’d been moaning Derek’s name and Derek had been texting him frantically, asking him to stop. He wondered what was going through his head at that time. Was he picturing what Stiles must’ve looked like? Had he even felt anything, or was he just pretending? Shit, what if Stiles had actually turned him on? What if Derek had started getting hard, grabbing himself through his pants while Stiles pretended to moan his name on the other side of the wall?

Biting his bottom lip hard enough to hurt, Stiles rolled onto his back and arched his hips, yanking at his sweats and kicking them off. He hadn’t jerked off since the shower that one morning where Derek had heard him, and while he knew Derek would hear him now, he didn’t really care. Stiles was allowed to be turned on! If Derek could get turned on, then so could Stiles!

Reaching down one hand, he closed his eyes and bent his knees, spreading his legs a little wider while wrapping his hand around himself. He was still mostly soft, but had started hardening at the thought of what Derek might’ve done to himself while Stiles had pretended to moan his name.

Biting his lower lip again, he started stroking himself, picturing Derek’s flushed cheeks, his green eyes and long lashes, his full lips.

And that stubble. Derek looked amazing with stubble. He’d probably look great clean-shaven, too, but there was just something rustic and ruggedly handsome about him with the stubble. He’d love to rub his face against it.

Actually, he’d love to feel that stubble rub against his inner thighs while Derek breathed on his cock, teasing him, kissing at the crease, fondling his balls.

A loud, unabashed moan left his lips, and he almost felt embarrassed enough to stuff his pillow in his mouth, but he was determined to see this through. Poor Derek had suffered through his shyness earlier for Stiles, so the least Stiles could do was let him know how much he turned him on.

Not that Derek probably didn’t know that already, considering the year he’d been living there and talking to Scott about his super hot neighbour.

His other neighbour was a married lesbian couple with a baby boy, so he doubted Derek thought he was talking about them!

He was fully hard now, palming the tip of his cock and sliding his hand back down the shaft, pre-cum not enough to stop the slight burn. He pulled his hand away and spat in it, not usually that crude but lacking the ability to reach over and grab the lube he had in his drawer. The spit was enough to make his hand slide more easily and he turned his head to one side, breathing hard and rocking his hips upwards into his hand.

Another groan left him, and he cut himself off before saying Derek’s name, picturing him in his mind, imagining his hand around his cock. His hands were much bigger than Stiles’, but they looked soft and he felt like Derek would give amazing handjobs.

Reaching down with his other hand, Stiles grabbed his balls, tugging and squeezing at them while tilting his head back, eyes still shut and lips parted. His hips rose off the bed a little faster, thrusting up into his hand while he continued tugging at his balls.

He could feel his orgasm building, but he wasn’t ready to let go yet so he forced his hips back onto the bed and squeezed his cock, other hand pulling away from his balls and resting on the inside of his left thigh.

He was breathing hard, and could feel sweat beginning to break out across his body. He continued pumping himself slowly, teasing himself so that he could feel the orgasm just barely there, but not enough to push him over the edge. When he felt like he was literally about to lose his mind, he loosened his grip to something more comfortable and started bucking up into his hand again. Pre-cum was drooling from the tip, and he swiped his thumb over it, pressing down hard against the slit.

With a loud shout that was half strangled nonsense, half Derek’s name, Stiles arched his back and came, holding the position while his cock pulsed in his hand, shooting ribbons of cum onto his stomach and hand.

Finally falling onto his back once more, he breathed hard, the air of his bedroom cool against his heated flesh, and lay staring at his ceiling for an exceptionally long time. When he finally stood to clean himself off, he heard his phone vibrate while he was heading for his bathroom.

Deciding he needed clean hands first, he washed his hands, then grabbed a washcloth and cleaned up the mess on his stomach.

Walking back to his room naked, he yanked the sweats back on before grabbing his phone, feeling embarrassment curling in his stomach over what he’d just done. Derek obviously knew that Stiles was aware that he could hear him, so it was fairly evident that he’d done it on purpose.

And he had, mostly. Sure, he was horny and wanted to beat one off, but he also kind of wanted to give Derek a bit more to think about on the other side of the wall.

Opening his texts, he couldn’t help but smile, even while a flush crept up his face at the words staring back at him.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Good night :)
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Forget I ever said anything about biting down on something.

[User]
noted


The following week passed similarly to how every other week before his mother’s birthday did. Derek made him food for the week, and was actually brave enough to knock on the door to hand him the box. Stiles invited him in, but Derek just inhaled deeply before his eyes widened ever so slightly and he shook his head, practically bolting for his door.

It took Stiles a while to figure out what the problem was, namely that his apartment and himself likely still smelled like his nightly activity. He tried not to feel too embarrassed, but it was hard. He just continued texting with Derek as if everything was normal, and every now and then he scrolled back to the message from the previous night, smiling to himself.

The feeling didn’t last long, and the closer he got to the weekend, the quieter he became. He didn’t say anything about it to Derek, but he felt like the other understood and was giving him space. He still texted him in the mornings and at night, but he’d started texting a bit less during the day when it became clear Stiles didn’t answer as much as he used to.

[User]
sorry

It was all he texted Derek on Thursday evening, and he felt his chest warm at the response he got.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Never apologize for needing space. I completely understand.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
When are you leaving? I have food for your dad.

[User]
thank you
[User]
i mean it, i don’t know how i’d have survived this week without you
[User]
i’m leaving after class tomorrow around one
[User]
scott’s coming with me

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I won’t be home tomorrow until later in the day
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I have somewhere to be
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Should I bring it over now?

[User]
sure
[User]
thanks derek

He heard a knock at his door five minutes later and when he went to answer it, Derek looked less scowly than usual. He offered Stiles a half-smile—the closest to a real smile Stiles had seen yet—and held out a large cooler.

“Thanks Derek,” Stiles said with a smile, taking it and setting it down just inside the door. “This means a lot to me.”

Derek shifted his weight, stuffing his hands into the pockets of his tight jeans—how he even managed to get his hands in there, Stiles had no idea, but he did.

“There’s some burger patties in there, too.” It was the longest sentence Derek had ever said in his presence. “I thought you might want to let your dad have something a bit off his regular diet.”

“Thanks.” Stiles managed another smile. “I really appreciate it. And dad will appreciate it, too.”

When Derek didn’t move, Stiles pulled the door open a bit wider.

“Do you want to come in?”

It looked like he did want to, but he hesitated and then shook his head, shifting back a step but still not leaving.

“Your dad is a sheriff?” he finally asked.

“Yeah,” Stiles crossed his arms and leaned sideways against the jamb, keeping the door open with his foot while they spoke. It was weird to be having a real conversation with Derek. He was probably making a huge effort because he could tell Stiles was upset.

He could probably smell it, too. It was how Scott had figured out what this weekend was, because Stiles had smelled miserable all week.

“That must’ve been hard for you growing up. They work long hours. Not a lot of quality time.”

Derek winced, and Stiles could see him mentally cursing himself for his words, but he just smiled.

“Yeah, it was hard sometimes, but I spent a lot of time at the station when I was younger, hanging out in his office doing homework and falling asleep on his couch. When I got older, I started bringing him lunch or dinner, depending on his shift and whether or not I was in school. We made it work. He’s always been really great with me, and I think he did well raising me by himself.” He frowned. “Am I allowed to say that?”

“Yes,” Derek replied immediately. “I think he did a great job, too.”

“Thanks.” He managed a grin this time, and reached out to punch Derek lightly in the shoulder. “Your parents didn’t do too shabby themselves. They must be very proud of you.”

He looked embarrassed again, averting his gaze and rubbing at his neck with one hand, nodding once and beginning to scowl. Stiles figured he’d reached his limit of bravery for one night.

“I mean it, Derek. Thank you. Anything I can do to repay you for this, you let me know.”

He nodded again, still avoiding eye contact, then mumbled, “Good night and drive safe,” before turning and rushing back to his apartment.

Stiles stuffed everything he could into the freezer from the cooler, checking some of the items Derek had made and nodding in approval. Each item he’d made, soup included, had been put into a re-sealable bag with the name of the item and all ingredients written on the front in black sharpie.

There was also another bag of chocolate-covered pretzels, some jerky, and caramel popcorn in the cooler, all of which were labelled along with a “For the Road” comment written on them.

Stiles slept badly that night and almost skipped class the following day before remembering that his dad had worked hard to save enough money to send him to a good university.

He packed up the Jeep with his duffel and all the food, dumping all the ice he had in the cooler and hoping it survived the day. He could buy more ice before they hit the road.

Parking the Jeep in one of the university lots, he went to his two classes, then waited an hour for Scott to finish his before they headed out. They stopped at a store for some ice, the food in the cooler having done relatively well for the few hours it had been out of the freezer, and then were on the road again.

Scott tried to carry most of the conversation, knowing that it was best to keep Stiles distracted right then. They ate some of the snacks Derek made and got into their usual argument about Star Wars. They stopped twice for gas, six times for a bathroom break—curse Scott and his tiny bladder—and once for dinner since the food in the cooler was for his dad, not for him.

They made it back to Beacon Hills around eleven at night and Stiles dropped Scott off at his place, all the lights off. After making sure Scott could actually get into the house, since it wouldn’t surprise Stiles if he’d forgotten his key, they waved goodbye to one another and Stiles made his way home.

The lights were still on in the living room when he pulled in beside the cruiser and by the time he’d exited the Jeep and gone to the trunk, his dad had opened the front door and was waiting for him on the porch.

Tossing the snacks into his duffel, he zipped it up and slung it over his shoulder, then grabbed the cooler with his other hand and shut the trunk. He made his way up the driveway and the porch steps, and set the cooler down before reaching out to hug his dad.

The older man wrapped his arms tightly around him and they stood there for a long while, hugging each other and saying nothing. Stiles buried his face in his dad’s neck, tightening his grip, and felt like he needed to visit more. He often thought about it, but something always got in the way. He didn’t like that, because he wanted to make sure his dad knew how much he loved him, and he didn’t want to miss out on any time with him.

When they finally pulled away, Stiles wiped at his eyes with the sleeve of his shirt and cleared his throat, ignoring the way his dad had rubbed his own tears from his face. He motioned the cooler with a nod of his head.

“What’s that?”

“Food from Derek.” Stiles picked up the cooler and preceded his father into the house. He dropped his duffel by the stairs and continued on into the kitchen, the sheriff following him. He hoisted the cooler onto the table and opened it, most of it full of water from the melted ice, but it was freezing cold and it looked like most of the food was still frozen, so that was good.

He started taking items out, glad the sharpie notes seemed to have survived the water, and opened the freezer. He turned to give his dad a look at the ice cream he found in there, but his father tried to look innocent and just wandered over to the cooler.

He handed items to Stiles to put in the freezer, reading every bag he pulled out. Some he just scowled at, but others he made noises of interest about. He grinned when he pulled out the patties and Stiles pointed his finger at him.

“Those are for tomorrow, and you only get one.”

“I can live with that.”

Nodding, Stiles took them and put those in the fridge instead to thaw, sighing at the take-out containers he found in there.

“Really, dad? Can’t you at least pretend to eat healthy when you know I’m coming home?”

“Ask Parrish, I eat plenty healthy. I only splurge every now and then.”

“Sure, Pops.” Stiles shut the fridge, and then moved to dump all the water out of the cooler. He went to put it back in the Jeep so he wouldn’t forget it, and then he and his father locked up the house and went up to bed.

It was weird sleeping in his old bed again, and he texted with Lydia for a while when he got settled. They hadn’t been talking much the past few weeks, and he knew it was mostly his fault. She knew what tomorrow was, so it was nice hearing from her and catching up. It helped keep his mind off things.

When she signed off to go to lunch with a friend, Stiles was about to put his phone down when it chimed again and he smiled at the name blinking back at him.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I hope you made it home safe.

[User]
i did. thank you.
[User]
got in about a half hour ago
[User]
dad looked interested in some of the food you made

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I hope he likes it.

[User]
of course he will
[User]
YOU made it

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
:)
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Careful Stiles
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I’m gonna start getting an inflated head with all those compliments

[User]
which head is that? ;)

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Don’t!
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Come on, that’s just mean

[User]
i’m a mean kinda guy ;)
[User]
anyway, it’s late
[User]
and tomorrow’s gonna be long and emotional
[User]
I should get some sleep

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
You should.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Good night, Stiles
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I hope tomorrow goes well
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I’m here if you need me

[User]
thanks derek
[User]
night

Stiles dropped his phone back onto the nightstand and stared up at the ceiling.

Tomorrow was going to be a horrible day.


As expected, Saturday was a terrible day. He and his dad woke up early, both of them looking like they hadn’t slept. They went to the diner where the sheriff got an egg-white omelet with peppers and mushrooms, along with a coffee. Not wanting to be a dick in light of his father’s attempts to eat healthy, Stiles just got the same thing, but substituted the mushrooms for cheese and asked for avocado as well.

They sat and nursed their coffees for an hour, sitting in comfortable but sad silence. When it became obvious they were both procrastinating, Stiles finally stood and went to pay the bill. His dad met him back out by the cruiser and they drove to the local flower shop.

His dad always bought a bouquet of bright sunflowers to bring to the cemetery, but Stiles liked to be a bit less predictable and he always tried to get something different. This year, a small Venus fly-trap caught his eye and he bought that instead.

When they got to the cemetery, they walked along all the rows of graves to where all the Stilinski family was buried. Every time Stiles saw his mother’s tombstone, his chest tightened at the space that was left on the left side of it, because his parents had chosen the grave marker together so that both of their names could be etched onto it. Stiles felt sick every time he imagined the day he’d walk into the cemetery to both names on the tombstone.

The sheriff bent down to put the sunflowers at the base of the large stone, but Stiles sat beside it and started digging a hole, taking the plant from its pot and putting it into the ground beside the tombstone. He didn’t know if the gravekeepers watered the plants every now and then, but the cactus he had planted four years ago was still growing strong near the middle of the front of the marker, so they were obviously cognizant of the weird plants that appeared every year and trying to keep them alive.

Stiles hoped the Venus fly-trap survived until the following year, he kind of liked it. It was a cool plant.

They stayed in the cemetery for a few hours, occasionally talking to each other, and being sure to include his mother in the conversation, as well. Other times, they just stood in silence, finding comfort in each other’s company.

Around lunch time, they went home and made a couple of sandwiches, then drove back out towards the preserve and walked along the trails, recounting their favourite memories of Claudia. They stopped by the station on their way home so Stiles could say hi to the officers who were like family to him, and he told them about how school was going and, very embarrassingly, gushed about Derek and how amazing he was, though he was painfully shy.

After that, they headed to the store to buy some things for dinner, and when they got home, his dad fired up the barbecue. They made the burgers, and his father was extremely impressed with how good they tasted, and even promised Stiles he would let him know his thoughts on all the food he tried.

They both went to bed early after a movie and another chat on the couch, and Stiles woke up around eight the next morning to pack and head out. He wanted to stay longer, but he had class on Monday, so he really couldn’t, and his dad had to get back to work that evening anyway.

They went for breakfast at the diner again, and Stiles let his dad get whatever he wanted, turning a blind eye for the day. He ordered himself some pancakes, but didn’t get through them, still too drained from the day before. He felt like the only reason he’d eaten the burger was because it had been made by Derek and he’d forced himself to.

Because it was delicious and made with love.

Stiles drove the sheriff back to the house and when he climbed out of the Jeep, Stiles followed and gave him another long hug.

“I love you, dad.”

“Love you too, kiddo.” His dad kissed his temple and pulled away, smiling at him. “Drive safe, enjoy your classes, and good luck with the neighbour.”

Stiles managed a smile. “I’ll keep you updated on how that’s going.”

“Sure, but just, you know, not too updated.” He started walking backwards towards the house, pointing his finger at him. “Stay safe, Stiles. I know he’s a Werewolf, but still.”

“Oh—my God, dad!” Stiles covered his ears. “We’re not having the sex talk!”

“Just be safe, okay?”

“Stop talking, oh God!” Stiles climbed back into the car, slamming the door as his dad reminded him that there was nothing sexier than protection. “Bye dad!”

Stiles peeled out of there, shuddering at the thought of his dad talking to him about sex, and drove to Scott’s house. When he parked on the curb, he texted him to let him know he was outside, and then reached back to pull the snacks out of his duffel bag. Almost all of the pretzels were gone, and the jerky was empty, but they still had most of the popcorn so it would help them survive the trip. 

Scott came out a few minutes later, his mother nowhere in sight and her car not in the driveway. His friend just smiled at him when he got in the car, obviously wanting to give him some space, and Stiles turned the vehicle around to get on the road.

They had a few stilted conversations throughout the drive, Scott trying to be supportive and Stiles appreciating it, but it was hard sometimes after the day. It was just another reminder of how many things his mother had missed out on. Like seeing her son graduate high school and go off to university.

It was just as bad, if not worse, on his own birthday. His dad seemed to survive his a lot better, but the holidays were another big downer for them both. It was always hard, no matter how many years passed.

They made good time back home, likely because of Stiles’ lead foot, and he dropped Scott off a little after four in the afternoon. When his friend climbed out, he slammed the door and leaned in through the open window.

“You sure you don’t want me to come over?”

“I’ll be fine. Thanks though.”

“Okay. Text me if you need anything.”

“Sure.”

Scott waved and headed for his building, and Stiles waited for him to enter before driving off. He headed home and parked the Jeep in the garage, then sat in it for a good twenty minutes before finding the energy to exit and head up to his apartment. He dropped his things by the door and tossed the unfinished bag of popcorn onto the kitchen counter on his way to his room.

When he reached it, he kicked off his shoes, climbed into bed, and grabbed his pillow before falling onto his side. He hugged it to his chest and closed his eyes, curling up into a ball and trying to ignore how much everything hurt.

He didn’t know how long he’d been lying there, but it had to have been for over an hour before he heard a knock at his door. Lifting his head, he sniffed and wiped at the tears on his face, not even realizing he’d started crying, and then pushed himself to the edge of his bed. Padding to the front door, still rubbing at his face, he shouldn’t have been surprised when he opened it, but he somehow still was.

Derek shifted his weight uncomfortably, holding a bag in one hand, and a boxset of movies in the other. When Stiles looked more closely, he realized it was Star Wars.

“I hear you arguing about it with your friend,” he said in way of explanation when Stiles glanced back up at him.

Stiles managed the smallest of smiles and stepped aside in silent invitation. Derek hesitated for only a second before entering the apartment for the first time.

Baby steps. Stiles felt like he was doing exceptionally well.

He held the movies out to Stiles before heading into his kitchen. Stiles was glad for the distraction, because his apartment was kind of a mess, but Derek didn’t say anything. He just hunted through the cupboards for some dishes and when he came back, Stiles smiled when he saw him holding two shallow bowls of risotto.

“Thanks.” He took the bowl offered to him, along with the spoon, and Derek sat down beside him. He left almost an entire body of space, so Stiles shifted a bit closer. Derek didn’t say anything, but Stiles saw him flush a little bit.

He started the movie, having chosen Episode Four since it was his favourite, and they ate in silence while watching it. Derek stood when they were both finished, heading back into the kitchen, and when he returned, he had two plates of curly fries. Stiles cocked an eyebrow, but Derek just shrugged, looking embarrassed, and handed one over to him.

They munched on the curly fries for the remainder of the movie, and then Stiles stood up to put Episode Five in. Twenty minutes into that one, Derek stood again and when he came back, he had two pieces of a triple-layered chocolate cake along with some vanilla ice cream from the tub still in Stiles’ freezer.

They ate the dessert in silence, and Derek put all the plates in the dishwasher when they were done. When he came back to the couch, Stiles shifted closer to him and put his head on his shoulder. He felt Derek tense, but after a few moments he started to relax and by the time that movie ended, he was completely at ease and had even tentatively put one hand on Stiles’ knee.

When Stiles stood to put in Episode Six, he fell back onto the couch but Derek had moved his arm so that when Stiles lay his head on his shoulder again, his arm was wrapped around him pulling him closer.

Stiles could both feel and hear Derek’s heart pounding in his chest, and he smiled, finding it cute. But Derek was actually doing really well, even if he still wasn’t talking. Which was fine, Stiles was enjoying his silent company while they watched his favourite movies.

“Thanks Derek,” he said halfway through the third movie of the night.

“Any time,” he replied quietly.

Stiles didn’t know when he fell asleep, but it must’ve been at some point after the Sarlacc pit because he remembered watching that scene. When he woke up, he found himself lying in bed, still clothed, with the blankets up to his shoulders.

When he wandered out into the living room, he found a note on the kitchen table and the front door locked.

Stiles,
You looked like you needed the sleep, so I let myself out. I took your keys so I could lock up, but I’ll be awake when you head to class tomorrow so just knock on my door.
I hope you felt even a little better. I know there’s nothing I can do, but I’m here to listen if you ever need to talk.
I hope you had a good night. Thank you for letting me keep you company.
Derek

Smiling to himself, Stiles left the note on the table, went back to his room to strip out of his clothes, and climbed back into bed.

He fell asleep much more easily this time, and felt infinitely better than he had when he’d arrived home.


He didn’t see much of Derek the next few days. After getting his keys back and returning his cooler, he got another delivery of food for the week and then only spoke to Derek via texting. He left early and came home late, and Stiles wondered what was happening in his schedule, but decided not to ask. He always looked exhausted the few times Stiles caught him heading back to his place, so he figured he should limit the interactions. As long as they kept texting, he was happy.

Derek reminded him about his time away and asked him if it was still okay if he took Satomi out to brunch, which he confirmed it was. The following Saturday morning, he went to fetch her from her unit down the hall, and they had a nice conversation while he drove them to the restaurant Derek told them the reservation was at.

Stiles almost choked when they walked through the front doors, feeling horrendously underdressed and his wallet sobbing because fuck was it ever fancy, but he figured he could afford it given all the money he’d saved from Derek making him food for a month, so he sucked it up.

It was some pretentious restaurant called The Desert Wolf, which he thought was ridiculous, but he couldn’t complain about the food, because it was delicious. He and Satomi enjoyed their meal together, joking and laughing, and she told him a lot of fun and interesting stories about Derek.

“He’s so shy,” Stiles said, burying his face in his hands. “I can barely handle it, he’s so adorable.”

“He hates it,” Satomi informed him, pouring some creamer into her coffee and stirring it with her small spoon. “He and I spoke about you for a long time, you know. I kept telling him to just introduce himself, but he really struggles with it. Odd, considering his profession, but I suppose it makes sense when it comes to someone you like.”

“Do you think he would pass out if I asked him out on a date?” Stiles asked her. “I really want to take him out on a date somewhere.”

“Don’t tell him I told you this,” she said, lowering her voice conspiratorially, “but he admitted he was going to pluck up the courage to ask you on a proper date next month.”

Stiles’ heart did a double thump in his chest, and he grinned so huge it threatened to break his face. That promptly had Satomi teasing him and he got embarrassed and insisted she was an evil woman who liked making other people feel uncomfortable.

When they were done their meal, Stiles almost dreaded asking for the bill, but he managed to get the words out of his mouth. The waiter just gave him a weird look when he asked for it.

“Your reservation was under Derek Hale, wasn’t it?”

“Yes?” Stiles asked, confused. He’d only just learned Derek’s last name before the other left, the man almost having bitten it out like it was a curse word. Stiles hadn’t asked why.

“Your meal’s been covered.”

Stiles stared at the waiter. “That’s impossible, how can he possibly have known how much it would cost?”

The waiter gave him another weird look, but Satomi just cleared her throat and when the waiter glanced at her, she must’ve done something Stiles missed because by the time he looked at her, she was just smiling at him pleasantly.

“Your meal’s been covered, sir.”

“Okay,” Stiles said slowly while the man walked away, turning back to Satomi. “That was weird.”

“Nonsense. Derek probably gave them his credit card number.” Her smile was way too innocent, but Stiles just let her have her fun.

They left the restaurant and as they drove back to the apartment, he noticed she seemed a little sad. He’d never had a grandmother, not one he remembered anyway, and he felt bad for this poor old lady, living alone with only her neighbour giving two shits about her.

Besides, she was nice.

He pulled over a few blocks from their apartment building and she turned to give him a quizzical look.

“Derek said you like to play Bridge.”

Satomi smiled sadly at him. “I do, but Derek’s always so busy, and he has his own life, I could never ask him to come with me. I go every now and then by myself, but it’s more fun with a partner.”

“Well,” Stiles said with a smile, “all I’ve got waiting for me is Calculus homework, so I am more than happy to play Bridge with you if you’re willing to teach me how to play.”

It was worth it for the smile on her face, and she very excitedly told him the address to the rec center she played at. Most of the people in the room when they walked in were elderly, but Stiles actually had a great time playing, even if he was terrible at it. When they were heading out two hours later, another room had a Bingo game going and Stiles insisted they stick around to play, even though Satomi kept saying she’d taken enough of his time. Stiles just dragged her into the room and they played a couple rounds.

He even won two of them, one earning him two tickets to a show playing downtown, which he firmly told Satomi he would take her to, and the other being a nice bottle of wine. He figured that he would give to Derek, though he was honestly surprised they let him walk out with it given he was clearly under the age of twenty-one. Maybe they figured Satomi was his grandmother or something.

When they finally got home, it was well past five in the afternoon, and Satomi gave him a huge hug and thanked him for a wonderful day before disappearing into her apartment. Stiles grinned the whole way back to his, entering it and locking the door behind him.

He pulled out his phone, realizing he hadn’t looked at it once all day. He had a few messages from his dad, all of them related to work, so those were easy to respond to. Scott had texted him a few times, as well, mostly to ask if he was free to hang out and then wishing him a good day since he’d obviously figured out he was busy.

He only had one text from Derek, but he smiled when he replied to it.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I hope you had a good brunch with Satomi.

[User]
i did!
[User]
i actually might have spent the whole day with her >.>
[User]
we played bridge and bingo
[User]
i even won!
[User]
tickets to a show, which i promised i’d take her to
[User]
she seemed excited about it, so it felt right
[User]
and a bottle of some fancy schmancy wine i wouldn’t know what to do with so i figure i’ll give it to you when you get home

Stiles had heated up one of the dinners Derek had made him and was halfway through his meal, channel surfing, before he replied.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
That’s great! I’m glad you had fun!
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Satomi is really awesome
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
What’s the wine?

Stiles stood to find the bottle and snapped a picture of it, sending it to Derek.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
That’s really good wine! That’s an eighty dollar bottle!
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
You won that at Bingo???

[User]
yup :)
[User]
and i wouldn’t know
[User]
good thing i’m giving it to someone who’ll appreciate it

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Are you sure? It’s a really good wine.

[User]
are you kidding?
[User]
YES i’m SURE
[User]
least i can do

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Thanks Stiles :)
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Maybe you can have a glass with me sometime

[User]
well, i’m only nineteen, but if you’ll have me over one day while you drink a glass, i’d like that :)
[User]
you doing okay over wherever you are?

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Long day. Glad it’s over.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Coming home tomorrow. Can’t wait.

[User]
that’s good!
[User]
you’re probably missing your bed :)

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Among other things.

Stiles was sure Derek meant his kitchen, but he liked to think Derek also meant him. He knew it was a possibility when Derek’s next text was a winky face.

[User]
HEY!
[User]
I JUST REMEMBERED!

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
???

[User]
what’s the deal with paying for brunch?!
[User]
i was repaying you for the food!
[User]
i was supposed to pay!

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I would never have let you pay
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Don’t be ridiculous
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
That restaurant is outside a student’s paygrade

[User]
i’ve saved tons of money with all the food you’ve been making me! :(

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Don’t worry about it, Stiles.

He did worry and he would continue to worry, but he could tell after he pressed a bit more that Derek was getting frustrated and he didn’t want to piss him off so he let it go for now. They chatted for a while longer, Stiles’ food getting cold, and finally called it a night when Derek said he was heading to bed. He was three hours ahead, so it was quite late for him.

Stiles reheated his dinner and finished that off, then had some dessert and played WoW for a bit. He hit the sack earlier than usual, the day having been fun but long. When he finally started drifting off to sleep, he couldn’t help but smile at the knowledge that Derek would be home the next day.


“You’ve gotta be kidding me right now,” Stiles insisted, dragging both hands down his face while staring into his bathroom. “So you’re telling me that the entire main line is blocked?”

“Someone flushes their toilet, and you might have water coming out of the shower drain,” the plumber told him, wiping his hands on a rag and giving him an apologetic look. “I can set something up to minimize the risk of that, but this is a big job, I’m gonna need to bring in more guys tomorrow.”

Stiles rubbed the back of his neck and let out a sigh. He was glad the problem was in the main pipe, since his landlord hadn’t been happy when he’d called him saying he needed a plumber because his toilet wasn’t flushing, but this was still an issue. His entire toilet had been taken off and now he was being told he had no toilet or shower for the night. Thank God the kitchen was on another line, or else he’d have no fucking sink, either.

He hadn’t showered the day before and had been planning on taking one before bed, but now he couldn’t do that. And he couldn’t even take a leak! What was he supposed to do until the morning? Not to mention he had class, and he wasn’t comfortable with leaving this guy here alone, what if he stole shit?

He didn’t have a choice though, he’d have to decide about whether or not to skip and stay here, or risk getting robbed blind. Not that he had much to steal, but he had a game console and a nice TV, not to mention all his movies.

The plumber got to work with trying to block the exposed drainage for the toilet, as well as the one in the shower, then he and Stiles worked out the best time for him to come over in the morning and the man left.

Sighing in annoyance, Stiles called his landlord back to give him a status update, noting the man was exceptionally happy to hear it was a main pipe issue because it meant it would be covered by the strata. Didn’t solve Stiles’ problem, but the guy didn’t seem very concerned about that.

He called his dad next, mostly to whine and complain about his predicament, and they discussed whether or not he should skip class the next day. It was Friday, so he only had the two morning ones, and while his dad said it wouldn’t kill him to skip one time for a legitimate reason, Stiles still felt guilty about it.

When he hung up the phone, he let out another defeated sigh and stared into his bathroom. What if he woke up with shit all over the floor? Literally. This was the worst, how was it fair he was stuck getting a backed-up toilet for a main pipe block? He figured the block was right outside his connector, so everyone above and below him were none the wiser. Until the backup went up high enough to affect upstairs, they would have no idea, and considering the plumber had said the backup would more than likely just expel shit everywhere if someone flushed a toilet, upstairs was probably safe for a while.

“This sucks,” he muttered, turning to mope in the kitchen when his phone dinged. He glanced down at it, seeing Derek’s name, and opened the message.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but I heard what happened.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
If you need to use the shower or the bathroom, you can come to my place.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
And I’m off tomorrow, so I’m fine hanging out in your apartment with the plumber.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I mean, if you trust me alone in your apartment. Which you might not.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
But I thought I’d offer.

“I want to marry you,” he told his phone, then remembered Derek could hear him and slapped his forehead. He went into his room and crouched by the door, almost as if he could hide from his own stupid voice saying stupid things.

[User]
of course i trust you!
[User]
what even are you saying??
[User]
are you sure? i really don’t want to miss class, but i don’t want to inconvenience you, either

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I’m sure :)
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I’ll just read. I still haven’t finished the last book you gave me.

Speaking of which, Stiles needed to go find more. He was down to his last one, and if Derek finished the one he had now tomorrow, Stiles would give him the new book and be out.

[User]
thanks derek
[User]
seriously. i really appreciate it
[User]
plumber’s coming by around nine, but I have class at eight. is that okay?

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Yup :)
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Just knock on my door before you head out and give me your keys
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I’ll let the guy in and hang out until he’s either done or you come home.

[User]
you are the absolute best
[User]
thank you
[User]
i owe you

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
You owe me nothing.

[User]
i owe you!!!!!
[User]
also uh
[User]
CAN I come by and shower?
[User]
i was gonna grab one tonight, but this kind of threw a wrench in my plans

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Of course
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Come on over when you’re ready

[User]
you are a lifesaver!
[User]
thank you!

Stiles didn’t want to inconvenience Derek too much so he figured he should shower now while it was still relatively early. He gathered his toiletries and pyjamas in a plastic bag, threw a towel over his shoulder and padded out of the apartment barefoot, locking his door. He knocked on Derek’s and heard the other shuffling around inside. It took him a while to open the door, and Stiles figured he was freaking out a bit because Stiles was coming to shower in his apartment.

He finally opened it after a good minute and motioned Stiles inside.

“Seriously, thank you. I literally don’t know what I would do without you.”

Derek just nodded at him and motioned down the corridor. Stiles wandered down it and into the bathroom, a little taken aback by how nice it was. Stiles’ unit had a regular stall shower, but Derek’s was fully renovated and one entire half of the bathroom was just one huge shower with both an extendable shower-head against one wall as well as a rainfall shower-head in the center of the shower.

“Wow,” Stiles said, setting his things down on the toilet lid and opening the door to the shower. He stared at all the controls, and started when Derek appeared beside him.

“Hot, cold, showerhead, rainfall,” he said, motioning everything. “I’ll be in the living room.”

“Thanks.” He grinned at Derek, who just nodded and left the bathroom, shutting the door behind him. Stiles would’ve locked it, except he knew Derek would be way too embarrassed to open the door, so he didn’t bother. He just put his shampoo and bodywash on the floor in the shower and made sure his towel was within reach on the toilet lid, then stripped out of his clothes.

He turned the extendable shower-head on first, testing the temperature, and then turned on the rainfall shower-head because how cool was that?

Stiles knew he shouldn’t dawdle in someone else’s shower, but it was a really nice shower so he spent much longer than necessary cleaning himself off. He snooped a little, too, opening Derek’s shampoo and bodywash and sniffing it, just to see what kind Derek liked. He also almost started touching himself at the thought of a naked Derek in this shower every morning, but remembered the other was a Werewolf and would definitely smell his spunk on him if he beat one off now and exited the shower right after.

So, he just took his time in the shower, enjoying the amazing features, and then finally turned the water off. When he grabbed his towel and stepped out onto the bathmat, he realized the floor was warm beneath his feet and let out a happy sigh.

“Heated floors. I love this place.”

Drying off, he scrubbed hard at his hair to make sure it was mostly dry and then pulled on his pyjamas. He packed all his things away in the plastic bag, then relieved himself since he might not get another chance tonight. Not in a toilet, anyway.

After washing his hands and trying to fix his hair a little bit, he exited the bathroom and padded down the corridor to the living room. Derek was staring resolutely at the television, but Stiles could see his hands were clenched on his thighs.

“Thanks for letting me use your shower.”

“Sure,” Derek managed to get out, still not looking at him.

Stiles knew he should probably go, Derek likely had plans for the evening, but he felt like exposure was a good thing. Derek had done really well the night he’d come home from his dad’s place, but Stiles also knew that was because Derek obviously cared and wanted to help him. He had worked hard to overcome his shyness because he wanted to be there for him.

Still, Stiles liked talking to him, and if that date was ever going to happen, then he needed to help Derek realize that he was fine in person, and not everything had to happen over the phone or in notes they slid under each other’s doors.

“What are you watching?” he asked, moving closer to the couch so he could see the television. It looked like some old black and white western movie. “Hey, is that The Big Trail?”

Derek looked surprised, head snapping in his direction. “You’ve seen it?”

“Hell yeah I’ve seen it, I love John Wayne.” Stiles dropped the bag beside the couch and fell down next to Derek. He was pleased when the other didn’t tense like he had last time. “It’s still close to the beginning, that’s awesome. Mind if I stick around? I love this movie.”

Derek looked like he didn’t know whether to be delighted or terrified. In the end, he just nodded and shifted awkwardly on the couch. Stiles leaned over so he was pressing his weight into Derek’s side and got comfortable, enjoying the way Derek expression twitched with an almost-smile.

They sat in silence watching the movie, Stiles falling deeper and deeper into the couch because damn was it ever a nice couch. Derek didn’t seem to mind his weight, and Stiles liked how warm he was, even through all their clothing. It was comforting somehow.

He ended up with his head on Derek’s shoulder, like the last time, and also put his hand on Derek’s knee. It was mostly for balance, but also because he wanted Derek to know that this was more than okay. Derek liked him, and he very much liked Derek. They just needed him to get out of his shy phase, and hopefully if Stiles made it as clear as possible that, yes, this was a thing he wanted, maybe Derek would gain some confidence and feel braver when they met in the elevator.

When the movie ended, Stiles didn’t want to leave, but he’d already overstayed his welcome. He asked if it was okay to use the bathroom one last time, then headed down the corridor to do just that.

He came back out and grabbed his things, thanking Derek again while he walked him to the door. Stiles had just opened it and bid him goodnight when Derek suddenly spoke, making him freeze halfway out the door.

“Did you...” Derek trailed off, looking annoyed with himself, but Stiles just waited patiently for him to get his thoughts together. Finally, Derek straightened, almost like he was telling himself to suck it up and said, “Did you want to come over and watch some more movies this weekend?”

“Sure.” Stiles beamed. “That sounds great!” He narrowed his eyes in fake-suspicion. “I thought you said you didn’t like movies. Did you lie to me?” He gasped exaggeratedly and slapped one hand against his chest. “Are you a liar, Derek?”

He was so insanely proud of him when Derek rolled his eyes. “It depends on the movies. I watched Star Wars, didn’t I?”

“You own Star Wars, which automatically makes you better than Scott.” Stiles grinned. “But yes, I’d love to come over and watch some movies with you. Saturday?”

Derek smiled, actually smiled, and nodded. “Sure.”

“Cool. What are we gonna watch?”

The panic that flickered across Derek’s face at that was kind of endearing. He’d managed to work up the nerve to ask him to come over in an almost-date fashion, but hadn’t planned ahead enough to figure out what they’d watch.

Stiles couldn’t let him suffer like that. “You like westerns, right? Why don’t we make a day of it? I own Blazing Saddles, the original Lone Ranger with Clayton Moore, and the new Magnificent Seven.”

Derek seemed relieved at the save and nodded eagerly. “I have a few westerns, too. Bring over what you have and we can talk about it on Saturday.”

“Sounds good.” Stiles beamed at him and Derek smiled.

He didn’t know what possessed him to do it. Probably just that he really, really liked Derek, but also because he was always so freaking nice and adorable and he just liked him so fucking much. When Derek stepped forward, grabbing the edge of the door and opening his mouth to likely bid him goodnight, Stiles grabbed the front of his shirt with his free hand and wrenched him forward, pressing his lips against Derek’s.

It only lasted for a second, Stiles literally smashing their lips together before pulling back. Derek looked stunned, an adorable flush creeping up his neck, and Stiles felt his own face growing warm, unable to believe he’d done that.

“I really like you and wanted to do that, sorry, okay bye!”

Stiles bolted for his apartment, dropping his keys when he tried to get the door open and cursing, bending down to grab them and struggling to get his key in the lock. He could see Derek watching him out of his peripheral and it only made him more nervous, but he finally got his door open and raced into his apartment.

Slamming it behind himself, he leaned back against it, then dropped the bag and his keys so he could cover his face with both hands.

“What did I do?” he asked himself, horrified. “Oh my God.” He slid to the floor, face still covered, and tried to figure out what the hell he’d been thinking.

What if Derek didn’t like being kissed? What if his feelings for Stiles weren’t necessarily the same that Stiles felt for him? Sure everyone talked about how he had a crush on him, but maybe they were such good friends now that it wasn’t so much a crush anymore as it was a friendship? What if Derek liked him as only a friend now?

God, what if Stiles’ breath smelled bad?! Derek was a Werewolf, he could smell so much better than normal people, what if he’d been disgusted?!

“Fuck,” Stiles muttered, face still covered.

His head shot up when his phone went off in his bedroom. He’d never been so terrified of a text message before in his life and he so didn’t want to check it, but at the same time he totally did and oh God, this was the absolute worst!

Sighing in defeat, he stood slowly and locked his door. He put his keys on the counter and slowly put all of his things away, wanting to procrastinate even as his heart pounded a mile a minute. Something Derek could probably hear, dammit!

When he’d run out of things to do, he stopped beside his phone and just stared down at it, the screen dark. What if he’d just ruined everything? What if it was Derek telling him Saturday was cancelled?

Shit, he shouldn’t have just gone for it like that. He should’ve asked or something.

Cursing, he rubbed at his mouth, then reached down and picked up the phone. He hesitated for a few more seconds, then closed his eyes.

“Just rip it off. Rip the bandaid off.”

Unlocking his phone, he opened his messages and stared down at the one from Derek, heart still going a mile a minute.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Thank you.

Stiles had no idea how to take that. It wasn’t a bad thing, at least, but he didn’t understand.

Letting out a slow breath, he texted back.

[User]
for what?
[User]
headbutting you?

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I’ve wanted to do that for weeks.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
But I could never work up the nerve.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
So thank you.

Stiles’ heart started beating double time for a completely different reason. So he hadn’t fucked everything up? This was a good thing?

Holy shit, this was a good thing!

[User]
sorry i just kind of...
[User]
like, dove in

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I’m glad you did
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I think I would’ve panicked if I’d known it was coming
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
This is kind of a step for me, but I’d like to try again tomorrow morning
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
If that’s okay with you

“In what universe would that not be okay?!” Stiles demanded, and started texting just that, but Derek responded before he could.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Thank you :)
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I’ll see you tomorrow morning
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Good night, Stiles.

[User]
night derek

The morning could not come soon enough!


When Stiles woke up the next morning, it took his tired brain a while to figure out why he was so excited to be awake. It wasn’t until he was brushing his teeth in the kitchen, still half-asleep, that he remembered what was coming and he woke right up.

“Oh my God, I’m gonna kiss Derek!” he blurted out, mouth full of foam. He grinned like an idiot and went back to hurriedly brushing his teeth.

He got dressed for school, maybe choosing a nicer outfit than usual, and inhaled his breakfast. He went to brush his teeth again afterwards, wanting to make sure it was minty fresh. He checked his reflection in the bathroom mirror when he was done, double-checking that he looked okay, and then went to grab his bag. 

Exiting his apartment and locking the door, he went to Derek’s and stopped outside it, letting out a slow breath. He shook his hands out, trying to calm his nerves, but it was just a big deal. He hadn’t seen Derek since practically head-butting him the night before, and now he had permission to kiss him. And he knew Derek was probably being all adorable and flustered on the other side of the door and that just made him even more nervous.

“Calm down,” he muttered to himself, squaring his shoulders and raising his hand. He didn’t knock, still trying to get himself under control. With one final breath, he closed his eyes and knocked on the door. Opening his eyes again, he took one step back and listened for movement inside. He heard nothing, and after half a minute, contemplated knocking again but the door unlocked and opened, suggesting Derek had been standing on the other side for a while.

He was already flushing and avoiding Stiles’ eyes when he got the door opened. Stiles just beamed at him.

“Morning.”

“Good morning.”

For lack of bravery, Stiles just thrust his keys out at Derek, almost letting them go, which would’ve hit him in his scowly, pink face. Thankfully he managed to keep hold of them and avoided making things worse.

“Thanks again for doing this. I really appreciate it. I left a book on the table for you if you finish that other one, and feel free to browse my movie collection if you wanna pick some things out for tomorrow.”

Derek took the keys with a nod, their fingers brushing, and they both lowered their hands. Derek clenched his around the keys and Stiles awkwardly shoved his into his pockets.

“Um, can I use the bathroom real quick?” It was embarrassing to ask, but Stiles hadn’t been able to go what with not having a toilet and all, and he couldn’t hold it until school like he thought he could.

Derek moved aside and motioned him in.

“Thanks.” Stiles dropped his bag by the door and hurried through the apartment to the bathroom. He took a leak and washed his hands, then checked his reflection and tested his breath. He didn’t want to be so nervous, but what if Derek didn’t like kissing him? What if Stiles sucked at it?

Oh man, what if Derek sucked at it? He had to have a flaw, what if kissing was it?

“Stop it,” he muttered to his reflection. “Just stop.”

Steeling himself, he pulled the door open and headed back down the corridor.

Derek was still at the front door, holding it open, and Stiles snatched his bag up when he passed, exiting the apartment again.

“I really appreciate this, dude. Snacks are on me tomorrow.” He grinned. “Just text me your preferences, okay?”

Derek nodded once, but said nothing and still avoided Stiles’ eyes.

Then they both stood there, silent and barely looking at each other. Derek was focussed on something near Stiles’ knee and Stiles was staring past him into his apartment. If neither one of them made a move, Stiles was going to blurt out a goodbye and run away, which he didn’t want.

He was just used to other people making the first move, but he knew Derek was way too shy for that.

“Okay,” Stiles said, rocking on the balls of his feet. He could see Derek was deflating slightly, obviously thinking Stiles was backing out and that just wouldn’t do.

Instead, he leaned forward, having to crane his neck a little since Derek was taller than him and he pressed his lips against the other man’s.

Derek tensed for half a second, and then relaxed and pressed his mouth more firmly against Stiles’. After about two seconds, it was like he wanted to just do this and both hands came up to cup Stiles’s face, pulling him closer while Derek parted his lips.

Taking the invitation, Stiles opened his mouth to dip his tongue into Derek’s, and the second he did, the hands on his cheeks tightened their grip and Derek basically tried to suck his tongue right out of Stiles’ mouth. It was so lewd and hot that Stiles was surprised.

He gripped at Derek’s forearms with both hands while rubbing his tongue insistently against Derek’s. Stubble scratched at his cheeks and he was positive he would have fingerprint bruises on his face, but he didn’t care.

Derek was kissing him like a man starved for oxygen who was trying to suck all of it out of Stiles. When he seemed to have his fill of sucking on Stiles’ tongue, he prodded at it until Stiles retreated it, and then Derek proceeded to plunder his mouth, hands shifting so that one slid back behind his neck and the other dragged blunt nails through Stiles’ hair, scratching at his scalp.

This was quite possibly the most intense make-out Stiles had ever experienced, and it was with someone who was too shy to even talk to him. He figured Derek had just decided to go for it when Stiles had finally leaned forward.

And he was not complaining.

Stiles started to pull away, Derek’s bottom lip between his teeth, but when he finally released it and took a breath, Derek leaned back in and crushed their mouths together again, licking at the roof of his mouth, rubbing against his tongue, and just generally making it explicitly clear he was not ready for the kissing to end.

Stiles didn’t want it to end, either, but he had a bus to catch so this was inconvenient timing.

When they finally parted again, Stiles took a step back and kissed the corner of Derek’s mouth. If he went for the lips, he would probably get distracted again.

“I gotta go,” he insisted, kissing Derek’s flushed cheek. “I don’t want to, but I need to.” He took another step back and Derek grabbed at his arm, pulling him forward again and kissing him once more. It was a closed-mouth kiss this time, at least, but they both still lingered.

“Plumber will call you when he’s downstairs,” Stiles said, kissing Derek again briefly. “Thank you.” Another kiss. “Okay I’m going.” Another kiss.

He forced himself to pull away then, turning his back on Derek and waving over his shoulder while running to the elevator. He felt like that would be dangerous to wait for and bypassed it at the last second, heading for the stairs instead.

“God, he tastes good,” Stiles insisted to himself while pushing through the door.

He was halfway down the stairs when his phone vibrated. He waited until he was out of the building and at the bus stop, having run there, before checking it. He didn’t trust himself not to race back upstairs so it was safer with some distance between them.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Didn’t anyone ever tell you wolves like to chase????

Stiles grinned, breathing hard and ignoring the looks from the girl at the bus stop.

[User]
are you saying you wanted to chase me?

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I almost did!
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I had to forcibly stop myself!
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
ESPECIALLY after what we were just doing
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
You smell AMAZING by the way

[User]
you TASTE amazing
[User]
i didn’t want to stop
[User]
we should pick up where we left off when i get home

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Let’s, yes.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Did you make the bus?

[User]
i think so
[User]
didn’t see it go by when i ran to the stop

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Good :)

There was a silence after that, which Stiles desperately tried to fill by thinking of something to say, but it turned out it was because the plumber was early and had called to see if Derek was available so he was heading over now. Stiles thanked him profusely again, then put his phone away when the packed bus showed up.

He made it to his class at his usual time and sat down in his seat to start the day. It was hard to focus on anything when his mind kept drifting to that morning. He knew he had a goofy smile on his face because people—including Scott—kept giving him weird looks. He ignored them because he’d made out with Derek that morning and people would need to tolerate his happy smile.

When he was heading home, he got a new text message that had him immediately calling his dad.

[Dad]
hey son its ur dad just wondering that food u brought home u said a friend made it? does that mean he has recipes?

The line rang twice before his dad answered.

“Hello?”

“Dad, I keep telling you, I know it’s you. You don’t have to remind me it’s you every time you text me.” He smiled slightly, finding it endearing, but kind of funny, too. “Second, why do you want recipes? What recipes do you want?” He narrowed his eyes suspiciously, wondering if Derek had snuck something in there that he hadn’t noticed.

“Well, your friend made some kind of, uh...” Papers shuffled, like he was looking for something. “Uh, buffalo chicken quinoa. That was pretty tasty. And there was a Japanese style lettuce wrap that I enjoyed, as well. Would be better with pita bread, but I can tolerate the lettuce. And he made an interesting egg-white breakfast quiche? I’m not sure, but it froze well and tasted great. I’m not much of a cook, but I’d be willing to give them a try if I had the recipes.”

Stiles wondered if he could pay Derek to cook and send food out to his dad. Was that a thing? Could it be a thing? This was amazing!

His dad liked quinoa? He’d probably had to look it up, Stiles was pretty sure his dad didn’t know what that was!

“Stiles?”

“I’m sorry, my brain short-circuited when you said you liked quinoa,” he insisted, grinning. “That’s huge, dad.”

He could hear him grumbling on the other end, clearly annoyed, but he just asked Stiles about his day and they moved on from the food topic, though Stiles was not going to forget that. He didn’t know if Derek would be willing to share the recipe—given he was a chef, maybe it was a secret?—but he’d ask anyway because, yes! His dad liked something healthy!

When they hung up, Stiles stared into space for a while, the bus rumbling along, and then he remembered he was about to see Derek again.

His face grew hot and he grinned down at his lap, wondering if he could get away with kissing him again. Derek really had tasted good, which was a weird thing for Stiles to realize. He hadn’t known that kissing someone could taste good, but Derek was kind of special, so he shouldn’t have been surprised.

It wasn’t until he reached the building after getting off the bus that he remembered he didn’t have his keys, which meant he couldn’t actually enter the building. Pulling out his phone, he texted Derek.

[User]
hey i’m outside
[User]
i uh, can’t get in :(

He only waited for twenty seconds before he got a reply.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Plumber is still here. Buzz me, I’ll let you in.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
4172

Walking to the intercom box, Stiles keyed in the number. It rang once, clicked, then buzzed. He hastily opened the door, realizing Derek had just figured it was him, and entered the building. He took the elevator to his floor and then wandered down the corridor to his apartment.

His heart was beating a mile a minute, which was ridiculous given the plumber was still there and he couldn’t do anything. Still, he had to take a breath before he could push open his door. He saw Derek sitting on his couch, but he looked a little panicked and Stiles didn’t understand why until he was further into the apartment and could see he wasn’t alone.

There were two people sitting in the living/dining area with Derek. The blonde girl from before—Erica, if he wasn’t wrong—was sitting in Stiles’ plush armchair, feet tucked up beneath her and heels on the floor in front of her. At his kitchen table, reading the book he’d left out for Derek, was an extremely muscled black bouncer-type guy, who didn’t even look up from the book at Stiles’ appearance.

“Hey cutie,” Erica said with a lecherous grin. “Been a while.”

“Hi,” he said uncertainly, eyes shooting to Derek. The other man looked horrified, eyes pleading with Stiles not to be angry.

“I tried to make them leave,” he insisted quietly. “They didn’t listen.”

“Boyd helped me muscle my way in when Derek wouldn’t move aside for us.” Erica beamed at Stiles like this was big news. 

Stiles shifted his gaze to the man at the table, who just flipped a page in his book. He looked back at Derek and motioned him. “Boyd?”

Derek sighed and nodded, still looking nervous. Stiles wasn’t overly annoyed or anything, just mostly confused about why they were there. It must’ve shown on his face—or maybe come out in his scent?—because Derek relaxed a fraction of an inch and Erica turned more towards him.

“Derek’s been avoiding us,” Erica informed him. “Every time I ask to hang out or come over, he’s too busy for me and tells me to find new friends. Isn’t he rude?”

“Derek’s always rude, honey,” Boyd informed her easily from the table, flipping another page.

“I know, but usually to my face.” She sniffed and flipped hair over her shoulder. “So when we came to visit and realized he was in here, we decided to drop by.”

Stiles didn’t know how to feel about that. Not the them coming over thing, because that was pretty clear, but the whole… Derek telling them he was too busy. Was it because he cooked too much for Stiles? Was Stiles actually ruining his friendships or something?

He didn’t know what he looked or smelled like, but something had obviously shifted because all three looked at him, even Boyd. He shifted his weight uncomfortably while Derek scowled at him.

Muttering that he was gonna check in with the plumber, Stiles dropped his bag by the counter and hurried down the corridor, feeling guilty. When he poked his head into the bathroom, he saw the same guy as the night before along with another. The first guy stopped working and straightened to talk to Stiles, telling him they’d gotten access to the unit below and he had two guys drilling into the wall to get to the pipe to see if they could get right above the blockage and clear it. Apparently things were looking good and they should be out within half an hour.

Stiles didn’t want to know how expensive this would be, and when he started to ask, the guy very kindly told him the main pipes were a strata problem and that neither he nor the landlord would be paying.

That was a relief, at least, because Stiles knew plumbers weren’t cheap and if there were four guys plus at least eight hours so far, that was going to cost a small fortune. If the strata was footing the bill, at least Stiles could breathe a little more easily.

He went to his room to change out of his clothes—the shirt he’d worn was nice, but uncomfortable as fuck. He was in the process of grabbing another shirt when he heard a small commotion in the living room and paused, listening hard. He knew the others were talking to each other, but he couldn’t hear them, so he just finished changing.

When he opened his door, he jumped when he found Derek right on the other side, looking uncomfortable. He hadn’t even heard him coming.

“Hey,” Stiles said, offering him a smile.

“I couldn’t get them to leave,” he muttered, shoulders hunched, hands in his pockets and eyes averted. “I tried but they wouldn’t.”

“It’s okay.” Stiles shrugged. “They’re your friends, so I’m sure they’re good people.”

He was starting to feel guilty again when he realized his friends had literally had to strong-arm their way into the apartment to spend time with Derek. Stiles had been hogging his time a lot. Maybe they shouldn’t do Saturday, maybe he should cancel and insist Derek spend time with his friends.

Before he could open his mouth to say anything, Derek spoke again, looking down at Stiles’ feet.

“Why are you upset?”

“I’m not upset.” Stiles hated Werewolves, because he knew his heart had made some kind of weird sound at the lie when Derek scowled even more.

“I’ll make them leave.”

When Derek turned to do just that, Stiles reached out and touched his arm. When he faced him again, Stiles shifted his weight and crossed his arms, feeling extremely uncomfortable.

“Have you really been too busy to spend time with your friends?” he asked quietly. “Is it because of me?”

Derek looked annoyed now, gaze shifting to the side towards the living room before looking back at Stiles. He actually managed eye contact, surprisingly.

“Erica was being dramatic. I see her three times a week. I just don’t let her stay the night anymore.” He scowled more, clearly annoyed the conversation had gone in this direction. “She has her own house, she just gets lonely when Boyd’s gone.”

“Werewolves,” Stiles said with a nod. “Right.”

Stiles had grown up with Scott and the small Pack back home. The Werewolves were big on cuddling and just being close to each other. He figured that since Erica was a Werewolf, if she and Derek were really childhood friends, it was natural for her to want to be close to him if her husband was away.

“I don’t want to make you miss out on time with your friends.”

“I spend more time with them than I do with you,” Derek insisted.

“He really does,” Erica called from down the corridor.

Derek turned sharply in her direction and growled something under his breath that sounded suspiciously like, “Not helping!”

When he turned back to Stiles, he looked nervous and worried, the expressions flickering quickly across his features before he scowled again.

“I like spending time with you,” he said quietly. “I want... I want to spend more time with you.”

Stiles smiled a little, reaching out to shove his shoulder lightly. He kind of wanted to kiss the small pout off his face, but not with witnesses, he would just embarrass himself.

“I like spending time with you, too,” Stiles admitted with a smile. “It’s even better when you talk,” he teased with a wink.

Derek’s flush was back full force and he glanced away, rubbing at his neck. Stiles just grinned and motioned for them to head back out to the living room.

Leading the way out, Derek shot Erica a filthy look on his way past her and fell back onto the couch. Stiles just headed for the kitchen to get some water, asking the others if they wanted anything.

Erica cheerfully said no, Derek just grunted what sounded like a no, and Boyd said nothing which suggested he didn’t. Taking a sip on his way back to the living room, he paused when he realized he had to make a choice on where to sit.

Erica had taken the only armchair, which meant he had to sit on the couch with Derek. He could either sit right beside him in the middle, or on the other end of the couch. He could feel Erica watching him, a grin on her face, and Derek was resolutely looking anywhere but at him.

Only Derek’s obvious discomfort made Stiles decide on his seat, grinning on his way over. He fell down right beside him, leaning into him heavily and turned to Erica.

“Haven’t seen you in a while. How’ve you been?” he asked, taking a sip of his water.

“Oh, you know.” She shrugged. “Living the dream.”

“You’re dressed like you do,” Stiles insisted, and she just grinned at him lecherously.

Stiles practically heard Derek’s scowl at the way she was staring at him, and he started when Derek’s arm wrapped around his shoulders. Erica looked delighted at this turn of events, and Stiles turned to smile at Derek, leaning more into him.

Boyd just ignored them all, still sitting at the table reading.

They chatted idly while the plumbers worked, Erica and Stiles holding most of the conversation, though Derek did jump in every now and then. Stiles always turned and smiled encouragingly, excited that he was managing to thaw a bit in his presence. He supposed kissing the way they had that morning, not to mention all the texting, was probably helping him a little bit. Besides, he had friends with him to help out if he got stuck.

When the plumbers were finally finished around quarter to five, Erica loudly proclaimed they should go to Derek’s for dinner. He didn’t seem particularly pleased about that, but when Stiles agreed to join them at Erica’s insistence, he looked less annoyed about it.

They filed out of Stiles’ apartment, Derek returning his keys so he could lock his door, and then entered Derek’s. Boyd had brought the book over and he sat down on Derek’s couch, continuing to read. Erica sat beside him, leaning into him and turning on the television, the two of them pointedly ignoring Stiles and Derek.

Derek shifted his weight uncomfortably for a moment, then moved into the kitchen, asking what everyone wanted for dinner.

“Oh, do you have any duck?” Erica asked, leaning forward slightly to look at him. When Derek checked the freezer and grunted out that he didn’t, she pouted and fell back against Boyd.

Hesitantly, Derek’s gaze shifted to Stiles, still standing awkwardly in the corridor, and he asked him what he’d like. Stiles had to think about it for a minute, honestly not sure, and just grinned and said to surprise him with anything as long as it had chicken.

Nodding, Derek opened his fridge and started pulling out ingredients. Stiles moved a bit closer, then worried about being in the way and shifted back into the corridor, watching from the kitchen entrance.

“You can sit down, you know,” Derek said, his back mostly to Stiles.

“I kind of wanted to watch a master at work, but I don’t want to get in your way.”

Derek turned to look at him, then motioned the counter beside him. Beaming, Stiles moved into the kitchen around him, then turned and tried to jump up onto the counter. He slipped on his first try, missed on his second, and then very embarrassingly was grabbed by the waist and hoisted up on his third attempt.

His face burned at that, but it had also been one of the hottest things anyone had ever done, and he felt like Derek agreed because he stood there for a few seconds with his hands still on Stiles’ waist, staring at him.

“Get a room!” Erica insisted from the couch. “Smells like sex in here, I don’t need that with my dinner!”

Derek quickly let Stiles go and turned away, his neck flushing. Stiles just rubbed his hands together, trying to calm his rapidly beating heart. He just focussed on watching Derek work, enjoying the shift of his muscles beneath his tight shirt, and the way his face pinched with concentration whenever he started on something else.

Stiles wasn’t sure what he was making, but he used a lot of machines, including that weird “Thermomix” thing that he just put random ingredients into and it spat out some kind of dough.

It was while he was watching him make what looked like flatbread that he remembered the call with his dad.

“Hey!”

Derek jumped and Stiles winced, not having meant to startle him. He’d probably been focussed on his task, and Stiles had kind of almost shouted the word. He gave him an apologetic look, but Derek just arched an eyebrow, hands still working on the dough.

“Um, so my dad called today to talk about the food you made for him.”

Derek’s hands paused and his eyes shifted past Stiles. That probably meant his words had gotten Erica and Boyd’s attention and Stiles wondered if he shouldn’t continue. When Derek looked back at him, he motioned for him to speak, so Stiles figured he’d already blurted out a secret and Derek had nothing left to hide.

“Anyway, um, he said he really liked most of the food. Like, you got my dad to admit to me that he liked quinoa! Quinoa, dude! I’m pretty sure he had to google what that was,” he insisted with a laugh. Derek actually smiled at that, as if happy to hear his food was enjoyed. “But uh, and it’s totally cool if the answer is no, because you’re a chef and, you know, secret recipes and all, but he was wondering if he could get some of the recipes so he could make them himself. Not that they’d be as good as yours, but you know, he’d try and that’s more than I can ask for.”

Derek’s smile then was endearing and Stiles wanted to grab him and kiss him. It was hard to resist, but the audience made it possible.

“I can send them to you later,” he said, turning back to what he was doing. “Most of them I found online and tweaked a little bit to my own flavour profile. They’re not secret recipes.”

“Awesome!” Stiles exclaimed. “Thank you! This is amazing!”

The two of them were silent after that, Stiles watching Derek while he worked, and eventually he clued in to what he was making and perked up. Derek’s talents would never cease to amaze him, and by the time half past five hit, everything was ready and Derek snapped at Erica and Boyd to stop being couch potatoes and help him by setting the table.

Boyd was the one to stand and obey, Stiles shifting around on the counter so that the older man could get items out of the various cupboards. He set the table in silence while Derek finished up one of the dishes, standing close enough to Stiles that he could lean his head on his shoulder and watch him work.

Derek said nothing for a moment, then grabbed a spoon, dipped it into the sauce, and offered it to Stiles. Grinning, Stiles leaned forward to taste it, licking his lips and making a sound of appreciation.

“Who’d have thought food really was the way to a man’s heart,” Erica teased from the couch.

Derek turned to her sharply, looking annoyed and eyes flashing. Stiles leaned back, surprised and somewhat mesmerized when he saw that his eyes had flashed blue. He’d never seen blue eyes before, only gold and red ones. He’d heard of someone who’d had green eyes once, but never blue.

“Wow,” he breathed, causing Derek to look back at him, eyes returning to normal. “Your eyes are gorgeous. I’ve never seen blue ones before.”

He didn’t know what he’d said, but the mood in the room instantly shifted. Derek tensed and looked away quickly, a scowl on his face and his jaw working, as if clenching it. Erica had gone silent behind him and even Boyd seemed to have stopped setting the table. When Stiles turned to look at them, the couple was sharing an uncomfortable look. Erica forced a smile when she saw Stiles looking, but he couldn’t help but feel like he’d said something wrong.

“Sorry,” he said slowly, turning back to Derek, who had moved away from him and angled himself so most of his back was to Stiles. “Did I say something wrong?”

“Derek,” Erica started, but she was cut off by a curt, “Quiet,” from Boyd.

Stiles was annoyed with himself for having killed what had previously been a light and fun mood. He hadn’t known it wasn’t polite to comment on a Werewolf’s eyes, he only really had Scott and their ragtag Pack back home as exposure to this kind of stuff. They had no born-wolves, and he hadn’t exactly gone researching on different eye colours when helping Scott with his new problem, so he didn’t really know etiquette for this sort of thing.

“Sorry,” he said again. “I didn’t mean to be rude.”

“You weren’t rude,” Boyd assured him, finishing what he was doing. “Erica and I are gonna go down the street to get some wine. We’ll be back in a few minutes.”

“Okay,” Stiles said when Derek didn’t respond. He watched the two of them move quickly through the apartment and the door shut a moment later. Derek had stopped moving as soon as it closed, and now Stiles didn’t know what to do.

“Are you okay?” he asked uncertainly, sliding off the counter and hesitating before touching his arm. Derek didn’t say anything, but he didn’t pull away, either. “Derek?”

“I killed someone.”

Stiles’ head snapped back in shock, but when Derek cursed and rubbed at his face with one hand, he knew that wasn’t exactly what he’d meant to say. He turned to Stiles, looking worried, but seemed mollified by the fact that Stiles hadn’t released his arm and didn’t step back.

Which, of course he didn’t, because Stiles knew Derek. They’d been neighbours for almost two years, and had been friends—and maybe a bit more—for a few months now. He wasn’t scared of Derek.

“I didn’t... That wasn’t what I wanted to say.”

“It’s okay,” Stiles insisted, offering him as best a smile as he could. “Take your time.”

Derek rubbed at his face again, and Stiles saw for the first time how much he really struggled to speak to him. Usually it was just about food and plans, but today alone they’d had one pow-wow in Stiles’ apartment about wanting to spend more time together, and now this conversation about his eyes.

“I had someone I cared about, a long time ago,” Derek finally said, speaking slowly, as if choosing his words carefully. He was looking anywhere but at Stiles, mostly focussed on the counter behind him. “I wanted to turn her into a Werewolf, because my uncle made it sound like wolves could only find real connections with their own kind.” He scowled then, showing his anger at the situation. “I was only thirteen, so I didn’t know better. He was lying, because he’s an asshole. I tried to get her turned, but the bite doesn’t always take. Sometimes, people don’t survive the change.”

“Oh,” Stiles said quietly. He’d heard about how some people died after getting bitten, but he’d never met anyone who’d known of someone who’d passed away. This was the first time he’d heard a story of it first-hand from someone who had lost a loved one to the bite. It made him sad that it had to be someone as amazing as Derek.

“Werewolves who take innocent lives have blue eyes,” Derek said, shame in his voice. “My mom told me I hadn’t killed her, but my guilt is what changed my eyes. I don’t believe her, I think I killed her, so I’m paying the price.” He turned back to the stove, picking up the wooden spoon and stirring the pot’s contents. “Everyone knows I’m a killer.”

“That’s not true,” Stiles insisted with a frown. “Derek, you were a kid back then, and you had good intentions.”

“I was selfish.”

“Everyone’s selfish when they’re younger,” Stiles insisted, moving closer to him. “Derek, you didn’t know. It wasn’t your fault. You’re a good person. You’re sweet, and funny, and considerate, and super adorable with how shy you are.” He smiled and poked at Derek’s side, but the other just kept scowling into his pot. “Derek, it wasn’t your fault.”

They were silent then, and Stiles had to wonder if Derek was now thinking Stiles was going to leave. Maybe that was why Boyd and Erica had reacted the way they had. Maybe other people Derek had taken a chance on had left when they’d discovered what he’d done.

Well, their loss, in Stiles’ opinion, because he liked Derek and he understood what it was like to be young and stupid. He and Scott had almost gotten themselves killed multiple times as teenagers. Hell, Stiles had almost gotten his dad killed multiple times by being a fucking idiot. People did stupid things, and yes, sometimes for selfish reasons, but Derek was a good person and Stiles knew without a shadow of a doubt that what his mother had told him about guilt was true. Derek believed wholeheartedly that he’d killed this girl with his attempts to turn her, so his eyes had changed to reflect his guilty conscience.

Sighing, Stiles wrapped his arms around Derek’s middle and pressed his cheek against his back. Derek paused in what he was doing for a few seconds, then seemed to relax ever so slightly before continuing. Stiles just closed his eyes and stayed there, leaning against Derek.

When Derek’s phone rang, he answered it and buzzed Erica and Boyd back in. They entered the apartment and Stiles heard a giggle before he felt boobs crushed against his back and arms around him and Derek.

“Group hug! Get in here, Boyd!”

“No thanks,” the other man said, wandering to the table and setting wine down. “You ruined their moment, Erica.”

“Oh, whatever, they’re fine.” She left a wet, sloppy kiss on Stiles’ visible cheek, then ducked a swat from Derek, dancing her way to the table and falling into Boyd’s lap, kissing his cheek just as wetly as she had Stiles’.

“Sorry about her,” Boyd said seriously to Stiles when he pulled away from Derek. “She’s a handful sometimes.”

“Mm, more than one handful, baby,” she purred, biting at his ear.

“If we can’t flirt, neither can you,” Stiles insisted to Erica, pointing his finger at her.

“Right, because Derek is brave enough to flirt with you in person,” Erica insisted with a wink.

“Hey, his flirting is on point, I’ll have you know,” Stiles insisted, ignoring the fact that Derek was probably going beet red behind him. “He has definitely wooed me, thank you very much.”

Erica just laughed at that, and the two of them bickered while Derek moved back and forth between the kitchen and the table, putting dishes down. When he finally had the last one in hand, he brushed his free hand along the small of Stiles’ back, giving him a small push forward until he took the hint and went to sit down. Erica also took her own seat.

The three Werewolves drank wine, which Stiles found funny considering they couldn’t get drunk, but apparently it was all about taste. Stiles wasn’t twenty-one yet, and despite knowing there wasn’t any harm with it, his father’s sheriff voice kept playing in the back of his mind every time he considered a glass so he just let it go.

They had an amazing dinner of Butter Chicken, Paneer Tikka Masala, Naan bread and Jasmine rice. Derek seemed to come back to himself a bit more, and having his friends, good food, some wine, and Stiles’ hand on his thigh every now and then, he started talking a bit more and seemed to be in a good mood by the time they finished eating.

Dessert wasn’t planned, and Derek didn’t have much, so he just whipped up some strawberry mousse for Boyd and Erica, and he and Stiles had some of the ice cream he had left in his freezer.

They watched a movie afterwards, but Stiles felt like Derek didn’t enjoy it because he spent more time rolling his eyes and sighing than actually watching it.

When Derek finally gave up and went to do the dishes, Boyd went to help him, leaving Erica and Stiles alone on the couch.

“So,” Erica said, shifting closer and nudging him, “how’re things going?”

“Fine?” Stiles said uncertainly. “Why?”

“Well, you said he flirted, so I’m just curious on where you’re both at.”

Stiles glanced at Derek, but he and Boyd were both speaking quietly at the sink, Derek washing and Boyd drying. Either they weren’t listening, or they weren’t concerned with the conversation.

“I like him,” Stiles admitted to her. “I think he likes me.”

“Oh, he likes you.” Erica winked. “You guys talk now, that’s exciting.”

“We text a lot. The talking thing is still hard for him, I think.” Stiles shrugged. “He’s getting there. I like spending time with him.”

“Wait until he gets more comfortable with you,” she insisted, waggling her eyebrows.

Stiles grinned, turning to her fully. “Hey, when I saw you last, you said he had a mouth on him. What exactly did he say about me?”

Erica was promptly hit in the face with a wet washcloth and she let out a string of profanities, getting to her feet and hurling it back across the apartment. Derek just caught it easily in one hand and gave her a look. She fumed and stomped off to the bathroom, probably to check her make-up.

“Spoilsport,” Stiles insisted, grinning at Derek. He just scowled at him and turned back around to face the sink.

Stiles’ phone rang while Erica was still gone, Scott calling in a panic about something Stiles couldn’t decipher. Realizing this was going to take a while, he bid Erica and Boyd goodnight, thanked Derek for dinner and promised he’d text him later, then left the apartment.

Apparently, Scott had forgotten Kira’s birthday and she was, understandably, upset. Stiles had been forced to leave his place and go do some damage control. It wasn’t the first time Scott’s brain had gotten overwhelmed with school, and it likely wouldn’t be the last. He felt like a therapist, spending the evening with his two friends, trying to stop a war from breaking out.

Eventually, Kira forgave him and Scott promised to make it up to her, but she still relegated him to the couch as punishment. Scott didn’t seem to mind, he was just glad she wasn’t mad anymore.

Stiles had returned home at quarter after one, exhausted and in dire need of sleep. He stumbled into his apartment, stripped on his way to his bedroom, and fell asleep the moment his head hit his pillow.


When Stiles woke up the next morning, the first thing he thought when he opened his eyes was: I didn’t text Derek.

Normally, this wouldn’t concern him, but after the reaction from the previous night about his eyes, he panicked that Derek might think he’d been lying about how he really felt and was now worried Stiles was never going to speak to him again.

He practically fell out of bed trying to get his phone from the nightstand, then realized it wasn’t there and was still in his jeans. He had to crawl around on the floor, half-asleep, to figure out where he’d stripped out of his pants, and when he finally found it, his battery was blinking back at him at under ten percent.

He hastily plugged it in, sitting beside his nightstand, and opened his messages. He had one message from Derek, the usual “good night” text, but nothing else.

[User]
i am so so so so so so so so so SO SO SOSOSOSOSOSOSO sorry :(
[User]
scott had a crisis
[User]
and i passed out the second i got home

He waited, staring at his phone, for what felt like an eternity before Derek replied. He instantly relaxed and let out a sigh at the response.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Good morning sleepy-head :)
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Don’t worry, I heard you come home last night. It was late, I figured you went straight to bed.

Hugging his phone to his chest, Stiles closed his eyes and let out a small sigh. “You are too perfect for me,” he insisted, then pulled the phone away so he could respond.

[User]
i’m still sorry :(
[User]
i promise i wasn’t avoiding you or anything

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I know, Stiles :)
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
It’s okay, you were tired

[User]
are we still on for today?

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
If you’re up for it.

[User]
HELL yes
[User]
just let me wake up a bit
[User]
i’m still mostly asleep

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I heard you thumping around
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Are you okay?

He couldn’t very well tell Derek he’d been scrambling around wildly for his phone, even if his thumping around being immediately followed by a text message made that pretty obvious.

[User]
yup :)
[User]
fell outta bed
[User]
all good

“That—that wasn’t better,” Stiles realized. “That wasn’t a better thing to say.”

Sighing and thumping his head back against the wall, he closed his eyes and tried to relax a little bit. His wake-up had been a little more stressful than he’d anticipated, and now he felt tired again. But nothing would stop him from going to Derek’s for some westerns.

Nothing.

When he opened his eyes again, he looked at his phone and smiled.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Do you like pancakes? I can make you breakfast.

[User]
you know i’d come over regardless of whether or not you fed me, right?
[User]
it’s YOU i like
[User]
the food’s just a bonus

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I know, but I like cooking for you
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
You always look happy when I do
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
So, pancakes?

[User]
sure :)

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Chocolate chip okay? Or just regular?

[User]
ooooooooooh chocolate chip, yes!
[User]
do you have whipped cream?

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I can make some

[User]
of course you can
[User]
excellent
[User]
i’ll get myself sorted and come by in a bit

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I’ll be here :)

Stiles got to his feet and left his phone plugged in while he did his morning toiletries, splashing his face with water to try and wake up a bit more. He got dressed and found all his preferred westerns before heading back into his room. When he checked his phone, he had a new message from Derek, which was just a picture of freshly made chocolate chip pancakes, a tupperware of ice cream and some whipped cream on a table.

[User]
can i marry you?

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I’m not opposed to that

Stiles grinned, heading for the door while responding.

[User]
excellent, we should set a date then
[User]
hey, have you ever like, done anything with whipped cream and chocolate sauce?
[User]
we should try that, since you have some available

He cackled to himself while exiting his apartment, knowing Derek was probably going to be fucking purple when he answered the door, which probably explained why he didn’t when Stiles knocked.

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I threw the pancakes out
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
You’re un-invited

“No,” Stiles whined, pressing all his weight against the door and whining, pretending to scratch at it. “Derek, let me in.”

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
No
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Also, since you asked, I wouldn’t recommend it
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
It’s sexier in theory than in practice
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
Everything gets sticky, and it’s uncomfortable after a while

“Oh my God, you are so dirty, I love it,” Stiles insisted with a grin. “Who’d have thought someone as shy as you would do something like that. Are you sure we can’t try it?”

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
We’re not trying it.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
It’s not a fun experience.
[Hot Neighbour Derek]
And laundry is a bitch the next day.

“What about if I got some whipped cream on my nose or something? Would you lick it off?”

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
I’d hand you a napkin.

“You’re no fun.” Stiles sighed, and scratched at the door again. “Let me in, it’s been like, ten hours since I last saw your grumpy face.”

[Hot Neighbour Derek]
You’re an idiot

Stiles was trying to decide on a response to that when the door unlocked. He pulled away from it so he didn’t fall and Derek pulled it open. He was still a little pink in the face, but he just scowled at Stiles when he grinned at him in response.

“Morning.”

“It’s after noon,” Derek informed him.

Stiles just beamed at him, pleased with the almost-banter, and he leaned forward to kiss him chastely before walking past him into the apartment. He hadn’t planned on kissing him when he’d arrived, but Derek did things to him and if the other was too shy to move things forward, then Stiles would find the courage to do it himself.

He set his movies down on the coffee table in front of the couch, then turned back towards where breakfast was before walking right into Derek, who’d come up behind him.

He said nothing, just reached up to cup Stiles’ face, and pulled him in for a kiss. This one wasn’t anything like their desperate, urgent kisses from the day before. This was something almost familiar, like they’d done this enough times before to be completely comfortable with one another, and Stiles loved that.

Wrapping his arms around Derek’s neck, he pulled him closer, parting his lips while Derek dipped his tongue almost lazily into Stiles’ mouth. When they both pulled away a few seconds later, Stiles grinned and Derek offered him a small smile before releasing his face and motioning the table.

Stiles sat and thanked him for breakfast, then proceeded to devour his plate, Derek's own pancakes being eaten much more slowly. His looked to be plain and he was pouring syrup over them. They ate and drank coffee while Stiles told him about what had happened the previous night. Derek didn’t speak much, but he listened attentively, and every time he offered up something to say, Stiles was extremely happy because it meant he was starting to move out of his shyness around him.

Just for shits and giggles, when he was almost done his plate, he smeared whipped cream on his nose and waggled his eyebrows at Derek. The other rolled his eyes and threw a napkin at him, but when Stiles legitimately had some chocolate on the corner of his mouth that he hadn’t realized was there, Derek had leaned forward and licked it off, then turned ten different shades of red before clearing the table.

They sat pressed against each other on the couch while they watched the movies, Derek having brought out a few random snacks he’d made the night before since Scott’s crisis meant Stiles hadn’t had time to grab any.

Stiles again reminded him that he didn’t hang out with him for the food, but that didn’t stop him from eating almost the entire bag of jerky. Because jerky was delicious.

When they took a break between movies three and four, Derek went to the bathroom and Stiles poked around at his bookshelf, looking over what he had and smiling when he found the books he’d been giving him were also shelved there.

He noticed a bunch of papers sticking out of one of them and, with a frown, he pulled the book out and opened it, unfolding the pages to see what they were. He was startled to realize they were the notes he’d been sliding under Derek’s door, each one carefully refolded and tucked into the book, which Stiles realized was the first one he’d given Derek.

He had kept them all. Every single one, even the first one he’d ever sent him. It made him wonder how long Derek had liked him, and how hard it must’ve been for him to come over with the food that first day.

It was crazy to think back on it now. They’d come a long way since then, and Derek wasn’t really his ‘hot neighbour’ anymore. He was his friend, and hopefully something a bit more. He really, really liked him, and things seemed to be going well, in his opinion.

He put the notes and book back where he’d found them and went back to the couch. He was still thinking about the ‘hot neighbour’ thing when he realized he should change Derek’s name in his phone. It had been fun at first, having ‘Hot Neighbour Derek’ as his name, but he wasn’t that anymore. He was Derek now.

So Stiles changed his name and put his phone away.

When Derek came back, his collar was wet, and Stiles wondered if he’d splashed some water on his face. He’d been gone for a while, but he just smiled at him when Derek took a seat once more.

“Are you good to keep going? We don’t have to if you’re bored with the movies.”

“It’s fine.”

“Derek,” Stiles insisted, giving him a look. “Do you want to stop?”

Derek glanced at him, then turned to scowl at the television, hunching in on himself a little bit. “I want to spend time with you.”

“We can do that without the movies. I’m not going to leave just because you’re done watching TV.” Stiles rolled his eyes and sat up straighter, turning so he was fully facing Derek. “What do you wanna do? Wanna go out? We can go for a walk, or grab a coffee somewhere and chat. Oh! Hey, we can go to the rec centre! We can play Bingo!”

Derek actually let out a laugh at that, but he didn’t reject the idea, so Stiles went back to his place to grab a hoodie and some shoes and he met Derek at the elevator. Derek looked so well-put together that Stiles felt like an idiot. He was wearing a black coat with a white scarf and he looked like a sexy, successful businessman.

When they reached the garage, they took Derek’s Camaro to the centre and wandered around to see what was happening in the various rooms. They did end up in Bingo, where Derek won a dinner at some fancy restaurant Stiles hadn’t heard of. He gave them away to the old couple beside them and Stiles fell a little bit more in love with him then.

They mostly stayed for the fun of it, not really trying anymore after Stiles’ third win of a bottle of wine he was never going to drink. After a few hours of that, they went to Central Park and walked around while Stiles carried most of the conversation. He managed to get Derek to open up a bit more, learning about his family, and Stiles even got to see pictures when they sat on a bench and Derek showed him his phone. 

By the time they made it back to the apartment, it was almost eight and Stiles was starving. Derek didn’t have anything made, but luckily Stiles still had some of Derek’s ready-made meals in his fridge so they ate at Stiles’ after warming up two of the dinners and had some pie for dessert.

Derek also helped Stiles with the recipes for his father, the two of them curled together on the couch with Stiles’ laptop while he looked up the recipes and Derek told him the few changes he’d made. He sent the email off to his father, and then he and Derek just hung out on the couch together with the TV on for background noise.

They ended up making out again, which Stiles was extremely pleased about. Things had just started getting interesting, with Derek’s hips rocking down into his, body pressed against the line of Stiles’ when something happened and Derek shot up, grabbing the remote and turning off the television.

“What?” Stiles asked, jerking upright and lowering his voice. “Do you hear something? Is someone breaking into your place?”

“What?” Derek asked, turning back to him, short of breath and fucking gorgeous. “No.”

“Oh. Is everything okay?”

“Yeah, it’s fine.” Derek looked annoyed with himself, tossing the remote aside and then cupping Stiles’ face in one hand once more, leaning down to kiss him.

Ignoring the weirdness, Stiles let himself get pushed onto his back once more, Derek’s lips moving along his chin and jaw to his neck, biting and sucking at his pulse while his hips continued rocking downward.

There was another moment where Derek froze, breathing hard, and Stiles realized he’d wolfed out, hair sprouting along the sides of his face, fangs in his mouth and nails sharpened to claws. Derek looked embarrassed about it, but Stiles didn’t mind.

Derek was a Werewolf, it was part of who he was, and if he was going to wolf out every now and then while they made out, that was fine. As long as he didn’t get any skin torn off, he didn’t care.

He played with Derek’s chops idly, one hand rubbing along his back, trying to convey that it was okay and he didn’t care. When Derek finally calmed down enough to shift back, he kissed Stiles again, then muttered that he should go.

“It’s okay, you know,” Stiles insisted when they’d both stood and headed for the door. “I don’t mind.”

Derek turned to him, surprised. “You don’t?”

“You’re a Werewolf,” Stiles said, confused. “It’s bound to happen. It didn’t bother me.”

The look Derek gave him kind of broke his heart a little, and he felt like he understood why he had such a hard time with people he liked. Whoever he’d been with before had obviously not been good to him. Someone had definitely left him over his eyes. Someone had likely also left him because he wolfed out.

Moving forward, he wrapped his arms around Derek’s neck and kissed him again. “I mean it, Derek. I don’t care. Go ahead, wolf out, I promise it’s fine.”

Stiles jumped when Derek just hugged him tightly, burying his face in his neck. Stiles hugged him back, rubbing his hand up and down his spine. They stayed like that for a long while, and Stiles felt like he was going to do everything he could to make sure this relationship worked out.

Was it a relationship? He liked to think so. They hadn’t really talked about it, but they were basically together, weren’t they?

Derek muttered something into his neck, and Stiles made a sound of inquiry, not having heard him.

“Thank you.”

“For what?”

“Accepting me.”

“Only an idiot wouldn’t,” Stiles insisted. “Their loss is my gain. You’re stuck with me now, I hope you realize that. ‘Cause we’re kind of dating, and I’m not letting you go now.”

Derek tightened his hold on him and he said, “I’m okay with that.”

“Cool.”

They stayed motionless for a while longer, and when Derek mumbled something into his neck again, Stiles lightly slapped him on the back and told him to get out of there. He didn’t, but he spoke more clearly the second time.

“I want to take you out to dinner.”

Stiles felt like his heart had just beaten right out of his chest, and his grin was so huge it hurt his face. “That would be amazing.”

“Next week. Saturday. Seven. Wear something nice.”

“It’s a date,” Stiles said. “But I doubt anywhere you take me would taste as amazing as casa Derek.”

Derek just chuckled against his neck, and after another few minutes, he finally pulled away, kissed Stiles good night, and left the apartment.

Stiles did a happy dance once the door was closed and pulled his phone out, texting his dad and Scott to tell them he was going on a date with Derek.

[Scott]
dude thats awesome!

[Dad]
im happy 4 u son
[Dad]
b safe

[User]
DAD!

He was about to respond to Scott when he got another text and he smiled at the name before opening it.

[Derek]
Can we be dating?
[Derek]
Is that something you’d want?

[User]
UH YEAH
[User]
and we practically are
[User]
you’re stuck with me now

[Derek]
Good
[Derek]
I wasn’t sure where we were standing
[Derek]
But I’d like for us to be dating

[User]
WELL
[User]
we officially are then
[User]
I AM DATING YOU
[User]
YOU ARE DATING ME
[User]
it’s official

[Derek]
My family is a handful
[Derek]
Fair warning

[User]
my dad’s a sheriff with wolfsbane bullets
[User]
so we’re both in for a fun interrogation ;)

[Derek]
Noted :)
[Derek]
Have a good night, Stiles
[Derek]
I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

[User]
night!

Stiles sent him a kissy face emoticon, which Derek responded to by sending an eye-rolling emoticon. He made up for it by sending a heart a few seconds later.

Grinning, Stiles grabbed a notebook, pulled out a page, and wrote a note. Folding it, he hastily exited his apartment, but instead of going next door, he hurried down the hall to another unit and slid the note beneath that door.

When he woke up the following morning, he saw a piece of paper on the floor by the entrance. When he opened it, his note was at the top.

I’m going on a date with Derek on Saturday!!!!!!!!!
Stiles.

Beneath his hastily scrawled message, in neat cursive, was his response.

I’m so happy he finally plucked up the courage.
You hurt his heart, I break your knees.
Have fun. We should do brunch soon.
Satomi.

Stiles grinned.


It was amazing progress that Stiles was able to have dinner in person with Derek every night leading up to their date. Derek knocked on his door on Sunday evening to invite him over, and they had some kind of ravioli in a cream sauce that Stiles wanted to lick off the plate. He still did most of the talking, but Derek tried, and that was all he could ask for.

On Monday, he texted Stiles to come over when the food was ready. Same thing on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Erica was over because Boyd was away on business so she knocked on his door and dragged him over for food. Thursday was a text message, and Friday Stiles warned him in the morning that he was going for dinner with Scott and Kira.

Derek’s response had just been, “See you tomorrow” with a smiley face.

Dinner with Scott and Kira was fun, but he spent most of the evening thinking about what was coming tomorrow night. It was weird to realize that he and Derek had kind of gone on dates. Every dinner they’d had that week was like its own little date, and their previous Saturday together had definitely qualified as a date, but somehow going out to a fancy restaurant in a suit was a date. It was like anything else was just a pretend date and only dinner out was considered a real one.

When he got home that night, he texted with Derek for a bit while going through all the nice clothes he had in his closet. He kept thinking back to how nice Derek had looked when they’d gone to fucking bingo and started freaking out a little bit. He wasn’t anything like Derek. He was loud, and annoying, and still in university. He didn’t have his life together, he couldn’t even feed himself properly, and he was positive nothing he wore would be good enough for where Derek took him.

He didn’t know what happened, but either Derek could hear his heartbeat skyrocketing through the wall, or he could smell his distress, because he ended up knocking on Stiles’ door. Stiles was so nervous to answer it that he just paced in front of it for a few seconds before finally opening it.

Derek looked worried when he entered, and without saying anything, he hugged Stiles tightly. Stiles hugged him back until he calmed down enough to admit why he was freaking out, which Derek listened to attentively. When he was done, Derek just kissed him, told him he had nothing to be worried about, and went to look at all the clothes Stiles had discarded. He didn’t want Stiles to try anything on, and had embarrassingly admitted he wanted to see him put together the next day, but he helped him pick out an outfit that would be suitable for the restaurant they were going to, and Scott texted to tell him he had a nice coat he could borrow since Stiles only had hoodies.

By the time he went to bed, he felt better, but still mostly nervous.

Saturday was spent with Stiles working on homework as a means to distract himself from dinner. At six, he took a shower, got dressed, and then hung out watching television until Derek knocked on his door at seven. When he went to open it, he took a deep breath before finally doing so.

Derek looked so fucking good, it almost hurt. He was wearing the same nice coat, but underneath he was wearing a dark grey suit with a white button up and a blue tie. Stiles felt severely underdressed, since all he had was black slacks, a white button-up, and the coat Scott had loaned him—which was actually surprisingly classy for Scott.

“You look perfect,” Derek said, and immediately looked mortified.

“You look better,” Stiles argued, but he leaned forward to kiss him lightly. “Sorry about yesterday.”

“You have nothing to apologize for.” Derek moved aside and motioned for Stiles to exit the apartment. He did so, locking the door, and when they walked down the corridor, Stiles hesitantly took Derek’s hand. When Derek laced their fingers together, Stiles smiled to himself and squeezed his hand.

Satomi exited her apartment while they were waiting for the lift, but given she didn’t move and just stood at her door chatting with them, they both determined she was just excited for them and had wanted to see them off, like she was their grandmother eager to see her boys so happy. It was kind of adorable.

Stiles filled the silence in the car while Derek drove them to the restaurant, talking about his homework and expressing how excited he was about their first official date. Derek had just laughed and insisted Stiles was being ridiculous.

When they pulled up to the restaurant, it actually had valet parking, which Stiles thought was insane.

“I thought valet parking was just for hotels and fancy events,” he whispered while Derek led them to the door.

“And fancy restaurants,” Derek said with a smile, pulling open the door and motioning him in.

Stiles stepped inside first, feeling uncomfortable, but Derek appeared at his side a moment later, hand on the small of his back while they headed for the podium.

The hostess almost tripped over herself to come around the side, holding menus in her hand. “Mr. Hale. Good evening. Your table is ready for you, if you’ll just follow me.”

Stiles cocked an eyebrow at the reaction, but Derek’s expression just tightened before he gave Stiles a light push to make him follow the woman. They were seated at a table by the windows that had a nice view of the water, and their menus were deposited before the woman hurried away.

When the waitress appeared, she looked just as nervous as the hostess, and told them her name and asked what they’d like to drink. Derek ordered wine, but Stiles just got water and she hurried away.

“Do you work here?” Stiles asked Derek.

“No,” Derek said, perusing the menu. “Why?”

“Everyone’s acting weird,” Stiles insisted.

Derek just shrugged but said nothing so Stiles figured maybe Derek was just someone people knew in the industry and started checking out the food. The restaurant was called The Lone Wolf, and Stiles had to laugh at the fact that Derek seemed to like going to restaurants with ‘wolf’ in the name, given the brunch he’d had with Satomi.

When the waitress returned, Derek ordered some steak and Stiles asked for the bacon-wrapped chicken. For some reason, that made Derek smile and Stiles just grinned back at him when he was reminded that this was the first meal Derek had ever cooked for him.

“So,” Stiles said, folding his hands together and leaning forward in his seat, “where do you work, anyway? We don’t really talk much about your work.”

Derek picked up his wine and took a sip, Stiles noting it looked like he was trying to procrastinate.

“I work in a few different places. Wherever I’m needed, really.”

Vague answer, but Stiles accepted it. “How did you get into cooking, anyway? You mentioned you used to cook with your mom, was that all it took?”

“More or less.” Derek was playing with the stem of his wine glass, leaning back in his seat. He was watching Stiles with interest, which was kind of intriguing because he seemed completely different in the restaurant than he’d ever been anywhere else they’d gone together. “My mother liked to cook, and when I was little I used to help her. As I grew up, I began cooking dinner more frequently, and my family realized I had a good palate. I went to some cooking summer camps, and when I graduated high school, my parents asked if I wanted to attend culinary school. Things kind of just went from there.”

“That’s awesome,” Stiles said with a grin. “How long before you started working in a restaurant.”

“Just a year,” Derek said, like it was no big deal. “I’d already become well-known when I was in high school because of the camps I went to. I also joined some competitions and the like, so when I ended up at culinary school, I was already sought after by various chefs and restaurants.”

“Wow,” Stiles insisted, knowing he had a dopey grin on his face but unable to suppress it. “You’re so awesome.”

Derek just smiled, this one a little more shy than the others since their arrival, and Stiles grinned.

“So how did this happen, anyway?” Stiles asked, motioning between them. “I mean, I know that I had a crush on you the second I saw you, because you’re hot as all hell, but how did you look at me and go, ‘oh yeah, he’s a keeper’? Most people run the other way when they know I like them.”

“Their loss,” Derek insisted with another small smile. “You always smiled at me in the elevator, even when I scowled at you. You seemed nice, and because of my hearing, I could always hear you through the wall. I knew you were a good person, and I guess the more I learned about you, the more interested I became.”

“And then you saw me ordering pizza twenty times a month and decided to help save me from death by cheesy goodness?” Stiles asked with a grin.

“Something like that,” Derek admitted with a smile. “I figured you probably needed to save money, and you were obviously embarrassed about your eating habits. I had time that one day, so I cooked a bunch of stuff and brought it over.”

“How long did it take you to knock on my door?” Stiles asked with a wicked grin on his face.

Derek’s face heated, but he kept eye contact, which was a huge improvement. “Two hours. Erica pushed me out of the apartment and wouldn’t let me back in until I gave you the food.”

Stiles couldn’t help the laugh that escaped him then, a few people turning to look at him, but Derek just smiled and took another sip of his wine.

“Well, I’m really glad that you did,” Stiles said once he’d calmed down. “I hate to think that I could’ve missed out on getting to know you. You’re an amazing person.”

“So are you.”

Stiles loved this guy. Seriously, truly, deeply. Derek was too fucking good to be true and it killed him! He wanted to flip the table over and launch himself at him.

Luckily, their food arrived then, Stiles thanking the waitress excitedly and looking down at his plate. There was some kind of asparagus puree on the edge of the plate, along with garlic mashed potatoes, a fresh salad, and of course, the bacon-wrapped chicken.

“I hope you like it,” Derek said, Stiles looking up at him.

“I’m sure I will, but not as much as anything you’ve made me.” He winked and Derek just rolled his eyes, but Stiles could tell he was happy with that comment.

They continued chatting while they ate, Stiles struggling not to make obscene noises because the food was so good. It tasted similar to things Derek made, but he still insisted Derek’s was better, even if that may have been because he was biassed.

“How was your steak?” he asked while he was finishing off his salad.

“Excellent,” Derek said with a smile. “I’m confident you liked yours, too.”

“I’m willingly eating salad, I’d say that’s a good sign.” Stiles shoved another bite into his mouth and Derek laughed.

“You ate my salad.”

“Your salad was the first I willingly ate.” Stiles pointed his fork at Derek. “You have ruined food for me, sir. You better be ready to deal with the consequences of that.”

“I’m sure I’ll survive.” Derek finished off his wine, and had barely put the glass down when the waitress appeared with a bottle, asking if he wanted another. He nodded and thanked her when she poured it for him and disappeared.

“Are all fancy restaurants like this?” Stiles asked quietly.

Derek arched an eyebrow, sipping at his wine again. “Like what?”

“You literally just finished your wine and she was here with a refill. It’s kind of scary, to be honest,” he said with a small laugh. Derek just smiled at him and went back to his meal.

“So you really like cooking, huh?” Stiles asked. “I mean, I know you cook for me all the time, but you like doing it, right? Like I keep saying, I’ll still talk to you without the food, I don’t expect things from you, you know.”

“I know,” Derek said. “I enjoy cooking in general, but it’s always satisfying cooking for someone else. You always appreciate what I make you, and it makes me happy to see you excited for things. And you actually ate what I gave you, even things you didn’t know. You were willing to give them a chance, and that means a lot to me.”

“Of course I was going to try it all! How would I have possibly known that kale chips were delicious if I hadn’t tried them?” Stiles insisted. “And risotto? Man, I could live off that. Yours is so good. And your cake.” Stiles groaned and buried his face in both hands. “Don’t let me think about cake, I love your cake so much.”

“They have a good chocolate cake here,” Derek offered. “You should get it.”

“You’re an enabler,” Stiles insisted. “You’re enabling my chocolate addiction.”

“I just like seeing you happy.”

Stiles was going to have a hard time letting Derek go. It hadn’t really crossed his mind before this moment, but he suddenly wondered if they would be having an exciting night once they got back to the apartment.

When the waitress returned to take their plates, Derek asked for the dessert menu and the woman almost tripped over herself to get them one, her hands still full of dishes. Derek didn’t open his, but watched Stiles while he perused the menu. They had four different chocolate cakes, and he made Derek help him choose the best one.

When the waitress returned, Derek ordered a cappuccino and Stiles asked for the triple chocolate lava cake. He didn’t know what a triple chocolate lava cake was, but it had the word ‘triple’ followed by ‘chocolate,’ so it was likely delicious.

“What kind of ice cream would you like with that? We have chocolate, vanilla or coffee.”

“Oh, vanilla, thanks.”

“And your sauce? We have strawberry, raspberry and blueberry.”

“Raspberry, please.”

“Perfect. And anything to drink for you?”

Stiles hadn’t really been thinking about it, but decided on a coffee since she’d asked. She told them she’d get that right out for them and disappeared. He turned back to Derek, smiling and rubbing his hands on his pants.

“Thanks, Derek. For this. Well, for everything, really, but also for this.”

“You’re welcome. I’m really glad you wanted to come out with me.”

“I’m really glad you asked.” Stiles grinned. “I’m actually still thrilled about the fact that you knocked on my door. Who’d have thought we’d end up here?”

“Most relationships I want to make work tend to fall through,” Derek admitted quietly. “I always end up doing something wrong.”

“You are fucking perfect,” Stiles insisted vehemently, leaning forward and lowering his voice. “I mean it, Derek. Whatever people you’ve come across in the past who made you feel this nervous about being with someone are assholes. You’re amazing and perfect, and now, you’re all mine.” He waggled his eyebrows and Derek laughed.

“I’m glad I knocked on your door, too.”

“I am pretty awesome,” Stiles joked.

“You really are, you know.” Derek pushed his empty wine glass aside slightly. “I know you don’t think you are, especially after what we spoke about last night, but you’re an amazing person and I know you’re going to go very far in life. I can’t wait to see where you end up.”

“Hopefully in your bed,” Stiles blurted out, then immediately wished he could suck the words back into his mouth.

Derek looked startled, but then he smiled brightly, the action lighting up his whole face, and he said, “I think that can be arranged.”

“See, don’t you feel better?” Stiles insisted, embarrassed beyond all reason. “You’re nervous about what you’re gonna say to people, and then there are those of us who aren’t nervous about it but should be because they say dumb things!”

“I don’t think that was dumb. I’m glad you said that.”

“Can you go back to being shy so I can just sit here in mortification in peace?” Stiles demanded, covering his face with both hands.

Derek laughed, but Stiles felt his foot bump his under the table, and they eventually got back to a normal conversation about Derek’s favourite dish and how he’d accidentally made his sister’s then-boyfriend-now-husband think she was a good cook.

Their coffees came out first, and a minute later the cake did. Stiles’ mouth salivated when he saw it, but before he could dig in, Derek reached out with his fork and snagged a bite, smirking at Stiles while pushing his fork into his mouth.

“That was mine, you thief.” Stiles pretended to glare, cutting into the cake with his own fork. He almost had the bite at his mouth when Derek was on his feet, one hand closed so tightly around his wrist it actually hurt.

He looked up and motioned the waitress, forcing Stiles’ hand back down so the fork rested on the plate once more. The waitress appeared beside them, looking nervous.

“Is something wrong?”

“What kind of coulis is this?” Derek demanded.

The waitress glanced at Stiles in confusion, then at the plate. “I believe it’s strawberry.”

“He’s allergic to strawberries,” Derek said, voice hard. “He asked for raspberry.”

The woman paled and hastily pulled out her notepad. “Oh my goodness, I did write down raspberry, it must’ve been a keying error, I’m so sorry, Mr. Hale.” She looked ready to pass out, and she hastily took the plate and fork with her, apologizing profusely while walking backwards, promising a new one right away.

Despite the fact that Derek was relatively polite to the waitress, he looked livid at the error. Stiles shifted uncomfortably in his seat, Derek’s hand still around his wrist, though not as tightly anymore. He was just glaring after the woman, head tilted, as if listening to something. Stiles figured he was listening to the exchange in the kitchen.

He shifted his trapped wrist slightly and Derek’s gaze snapped back to him. Realizing he was still on his feet and holding Stiles’ wrist, he hastily let go and sat back down, still looking upset.

“I’m so sorry that happened.”

“It’s okay,” Stiles insisted, bringing his hands under the table so he could rub at his wrist. It ached slightly from the rough treatment, but he knew Derek had just panicked when he’d obviously realized the bite he’d taken was strawberry.

“I’m really sorry.”

“Derek, it’s fine,” Stiles insisted, smiling at him. “Really, it’s okay. Accidents happen. But thank you for stopping me, or we would’ve ended the night very differently.” Stiles laughed.

Derek still looked upset, so Stiles reached across the table for his hand, pulled it closer, and kissed his knuckles. It seemed to relax him a little more, but there was still a pinch in his forehead from his scowl.

“I’m not deathly allergic or anything,” Stiles promised. “I just break out into hives and am uncomfortable and grumpy for a few weeks. Like I said, not how I’d have liked to end the night, but accidents happen. Scott and I used to go on hikes and he was in charge of the food, and he always forgets I’m allergic to strawberries and he used to make us some peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwiches. I cursed him for weeks after that first hike, and got to make him my slave as repayment for the idiocy. Would you believe that’s happened six times?”

“I can’t believe you kept letting him make the sandwiches after the second,” Derek said, a small smile teasing the corners of his lips.

“Yeah, my dad said the same thing. I learned my lesson after the sixth, and now if we go hiking, I make the sandwiches. He’s lucky I haven’t retaliated with a low dose of wolfsbane, to be honest. Would serve him right.”

Derek chuckled at that, and seemed to relax the more Stiles joked about Scott’s terrible memory. He was in the middle of insisting Scott would have a strawberry-themed wedding when a man approached their table holding another plate of cake with a fork on it.

“Good evening,” he said, looking nervously at Derek. “I am Chef Harris, and I wanted to personally apologize for the error that occurred. The order did come in with a raspberry coulis request, but our sauces were mislabeled and we inadvertently sent the wrong one out. I take full responsibility.”

“It’s okay,” Stiles insisted before Derek could say anything. He was glaring pretty hard at the man, and Stiles worried he would spontaneously combust from the glare alone. “It happens. I’m just glad it was caught.”

“I do apologize,” the chef said, placing the new cake on the table. “The error was entirely my own.”

“It’s okay,” Stiles repeated, looking at Derek. “Right?”

Derek was still glaring but he let out a slow breath and nodded once. “Please ensure the labels are replaced and don’t let this happen again. Allergies are extremely important to take note of, and should be taken very seriously.”

“I completely understand, Mr. Hale. I apologize for this error. Please, enjoy your meal.”

“Thank you.” Derek nodded and the chef disappeared. Stiles was pretty sure he’d wet himself.

“To be fair, they didn’t know I was allergic,” Stiles insisted quietly, picking up his new fork and stabbing it into his ice cream.

“Yes they did, I told them so when I made the reservation.”

“Oh,” Stiles said, somewhat surprised. “You really do take allergies seriously.”

“It’s important,” Derek insisted, watching Stiles while he dug into his cake. “While not fatal, yours would’ve caused you a great deal of discomfort. Not to mention peanut allergies can be deadly, and even if they’re not, no one should ever go to a restaurant and return home with an allergic reaction. The whole point of going out to dinner is to enjoy yourself.”

“And I am,” Stiles insisted, nudging Derek under the table. “Nothing happened, and I’m fine. Stop being such a sourwolf.” He laughed inadvertently. “Man, that’d be a great restaurant name.”

Derek smiled at him and excused himself while Stiles ate. He thought at first he was heading for the kitchen to complain, but Derek just headed for the bathroom. When he returned, his breath somehow smelled minty, and he admitted to having brought some toothpaste since he’d wanted to have a coffee and didn’t want to have bad breath.

Stiles teased him about this, but realized only a few moments later, when Derek asked for a bite of his cake, that while he’d likely originally brought it for the coffee, it was more likely that he’d just gone to brush his teeth because he’d had strawberries.

It was oddly considerate of him, and Stiles fell for him even more, despite the fact he was sure the amount Derek had had wouldn’t affect him, even if they were to make out right then.

Either way, he agreed to let Derek have some of his cake. Because the only fork he had was the same one he’d used on the strawberry coulis, Stiles offered him a bite off his own fork, and grinned at how erotic it was to feed Derek, thinking they really needed to revisit that whole whipped cream in bed conversation.

The rest of the dinner went by smoothly, and when the waitress returned to check on them, Derek was polite, and apologized if he made her uncomfortable. By the time she came with the bill, everyone was in good spirits.

Stiles noticed that the woman just waited while Derek opened the bill, signed the bottom and then returned it to her without a card in sight. He wondered if maybe the restaurant asked for the card in advance and then just charged it when the meal had concluded. He didn’t know how fancy restaurants worked.

When they headed back outside, the Camaro was already pulling up and Derek tipped the valet before holding the door for Stiles. Grinning, Stiles got into the car, feeling extremely pampered. When Derek entered and started driving, Stiles turned more in his seat to face him.

“You need to stop spoiling me. You’re going to ruin everything for me in the future.”

“Good, it means you’ll be stuck with me, because you won’t be able to handle anything else.” Derek turned to smile at him and Stiles laughed.

“True. After all, like Erica said, the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”

“Bottomless pit, in your case,” Derek teased and Stiles punched him.

When they were back at the apartment, they headed up to their floor in comfortable silence and Derek started to walk Stiles to his door, but Stiles grinned at him and then took off, bolting for Derek’s apartment instead. As he’d been hoping, Derek chased after him, catching up to him easily and pinning him to his apartment door, flipping him so they were nose to nose. His eyes were electric blue and hair was beginning to sprout along his cheeks.

Stiles just grinned and leaned forward to kiss him, rocking his hips forward into Derek’s. He ran his tongue along one of Derek’s elongated canines, and heard the other groan. One hand left Stiles’ wrist, but only so that Derek could dig it into his pocket, searching for his keys. He unlocked the door and they both tumbled into Derek’s apartment, the door slamming loudly behind them. Derek locked it, and then grabbed Stiles’ face in both hands, kissing him hard while they stumbled their way through the dark apartment to Derek’s bedroom.

Stiles was going to ask Derek to buy him a new outfit, because he was pretty sure Derek ruined his clothes with how quickly he ripped them off. He was pretty sure he heard the distinct sound of fabric tearing.

Falling back onto the bed, Stiles was startled when it moved under him, and realized it was a waterbed. That was exciting for him, because he’d never been on a waterbed before, let alone had sex on one, so this was going to be new.

He couldn’t see much of Derek in the dark, which was a shame, but two bright blue eyes were locked on him while the other undressed, and then Stiles felt his toned, hard body press up against his, pinning him down onto the bed while sharp teeth dragged along his throat. Stiles tilted his head back, exposing his neck, and Derek groaned loudly before licking and sucking at his pulse.

Every time Derek rocked his hips downward, the bed dipped and then pushed Stiles back up. It was really distracting, but in a good way, and he kind of liked that the bed was doing all the work for him. He managed to find Derek’s mouth and kissed him while exploring his back with his hands, moving them around and back up along his abs and pectorals.

When he got them onto Derek’s back again, he grabbed at his ass, and God was it ever toned. He pushed his own hips up, Derek’s cock sliding along his own, and decided he was going to send Pizza Hut a thank you letter for having come whenever he called, because they were responsible for getting Derek into his life.

When Derek pulled away from him slightly and leaned over to the nightstand, Stiles let out a slow breath to calm himself, despite really, really, really wanting this. Derek was just kind of daunting, because he was so fucking perfect. Even his shyness made him perfect, though there was nothing shy about him now.

Derek straightened again and Stiles spread his legs a little wider, arching his back slightly, but the bed just moved with him and he laughed.

“What?” Derek asked, voice low and breathless.

“Your bed is ridiculous,” he insisted.

“My bed is the best,” Derek insisted. “It helps with back problems.”

“Oh, I’m expecting to have lots of back problems tomorrow.” Stiles grinned and waggled his eyebrows, knowing Derek would see. He was right, because the blue eyes shining in the darkness rolled and Derek let out a grunt.

“You’re an idiot.”

“But you still like me,” Stiles insisted.

Derek bent down to kiss him lightly, running his nose along the bridge of Stiles’. “I do.”

Stiles beamed. “Me too. But you, obviously, not myself.”

“Shut up, Stiles,” Derek insisted with a laugh.

“Yup. But uh, hot as your Werewolf-ness is, you’re gonna put the claws away when you start downstairs, right? I’m cool with them being out, but not when they’re inside me.”

“Please stop talking,” Derek insisted with a pained groan, as if Stiles’ idiocy was endearing to him and causing problems.

Stiles just laughed and kissed him again, arms around his neck, and let out a surprised noise when one of Derek’s hands grabbed his thigh and hoisted his leg up over his shoulder. He was definitely going to get a cramp in this position, but figured he could endure it until Derek was done prepping him.

They kissed lazily, Stiles rocking his hips and rubbing himself against Derek’s abdomen. He felt Derek’s fingers at his entrance, and stilled, one slicked finger entering him. He groaned into Derek’s mouth, tightening his hold on him, and rocked back into the finger pumping in and out of him. The bed moved along with him, and it was actually kind of hot, Stiles enjoying the way he barely had to move before the bed had him pushing against Derek.

Thankfully, his nails were blunt, but Stiles had never honestly been concerned, he just liked giving Derek a hard time because he was adorable when he was flustered. Not that he was flustered now, or if he was, he was hiding it well.

Derek made quick work of getting him ready, pushing in a second finger and scissoring them, pumping them in and out and twisting them around. It was kind of driving Stiles crazy and he had to lower his leg when it did begin to cramp, but he kept them spread and one knee bent to ensure Derek had the room he needed to work.

When he took his time getting the third finger in, Stiles bit down hard on Derek’s lower lip and snarled, “Just fuck me already.”

Derek snarled back—more impressively, given he was a Werewolf—and pulled his fingers out. He pushed into Stiles agonizingly slowly, and once Stiles felt him hit the back of his thighs, he let his head fall back and groaned loudly, fingers playing with the hair at the back of Derek’s neck.

Derek licked at his left nipple, Stiles grunting once and then kissed his way back to Stiles’ mouth. They had to be more careful, because his fangs had dropped again, and Stiles could feel the sharp points of Derek’s claws against his sides where he gripped him, but he didn’t care. This was Derek, and he knew he wouldn’t hurt him, so he just shifted beneath him, the bed making him move more than anticipated and he let out a small groan.

“That was nice,” Stiles admitted. “Better if you moved instead of the bed, but at least something’s happening.”

Derek nipped rather painfully at his jaw, told him to shut up, and then pulled out. When he pushed back in, the bed shifted them one way before sending them forward the other. It was really fucking amazing, and Stiles knew the neighbours would hate him within a few minutes, because Derek was starting to build up a good rhythm and Stiles was quickly losing control of his mouth.

He didn’t know what he said, but at one point, Derek laughed and said, “I knew I loved that mouth of yours.”

Stiles dug blunt nails into Derek’s sweaty back, pushing to meet his thrusts, crying out whenever his prostate was hit. Derek kept changing angles and speed, and it was driving Stiles crazy! One hand moved up into his hair, tugging at it harshly and Derek growled low in his throat, but it sounded more pleased than angry.

When he started really pounding into him, Stiles wrapped both legs around Derek’s waist, locking his ankles together, and just kept up a mantra of, “Oh fuck, oh fuck,” over and over again. He clung to Derek like he was his salvation, and his cock was so painfully hard between them that he felt ready to cum without anyone touching it.

The friction of their bodies and the movement of the bed was enough to help him along, and he could feel the tightness in his stomach reaching its peak. He just pulled harder on Derek’s hair, burying his face in his sweaty neck and breathing hard against his skin.

“Can I cum on you?” Derek asked against his ear breathlessly. “I want to cum on you.”

“You can fucking do whatever you want,” Stiles insisted back, brain so foggy he had no idea what was even happening anymore.

He felt Derek pull out, but his fingers replaced his cock a second later and Stiles arched his back as best he could while Derek finger-fucked him and prodded at his prostate. Derek’s other hand was working furiously over his own dick and a few seconds later, he groaned and Stiles felt him come on his stomach and crotch.

The fingers inside him never stilled, and after a moment, Derek’s free hand was around Stiles’ dick, pumping him quickly while his fingers pressed against his prostate. It took basically ten seconds for Stiles to cry out, arching his back and clinging to Derek tightly when he came, cum hitting his own stomach, along with Derek’s.

When he fell back to the bed, feeling boneless and thoroughly sexed, he realized Derek had one hand on his stomach, smearing their cum across his skin. When his hand left, he could feel the back of it still against his skin, and realized Derek was now smearing it along his own stomach.

“What’re you doing?” he asked, exhausted.

He felt Derek’s hand pause, and had to smile a little.

“I’m just curious, don’t worry. It’s fine.”

Derek hesitated, then said, “I just want us to smell like us.”

“Okay.”

“Okay?”

“Sure,” Stiles shrugged as best he could while missing all of his bones. “I don’t mind. As long as I don’t have to move.”

Derek laughed quietly, and Stiles felt lips against his own. Then Derek pressed the line of his body on top of him, pushing him down into the waterbed, the mess of their activities smeared between them.

“That was hot,” Stiles admitted. “You’re good in bed.”

“So are you.”

“You did all the work,” he insisted. “I got a cramp in my leg.”

“I did, too,” Derek admitted with a small laugh. “But I ignored it as long as I could.”

“Didn’t even notice.” Stiles wrapped his arms around Derek again, pressing his lips to his sweaty forehead. “Thank you for tonight.”

Derek was quiet for a moment, and Stiles started to drift off to sleep before he heard him says, very quietly,

“Thank you for opening your door.”


Stiles woke up a few times throughout the night, mostly because he wasn’t used to the bed moving. The first time was because Derek had gotten up and returned to wipe him down. Cum wasn’t nearly as hot smeared along his skin when it was dry, so he appreciated that.

The second time, he woke up because Derek had shifted off him and curled into his side, holding him tightly, and the movement of the bed had startled him awake.

The third time, he woke up because he was cold, Derek having rolled away from him at some point and the blankets still under them since they’d been fucking on top of them. He just rolled into Derek’s back and pulled the edge up over himself as best he could.

The fourth time he woke up, he was under the covers and Derek was almost on top of him again, making him too hot this time. When he prodded at Derek to get him to roll off him, they both woke up enough that they started making out and ended up having lazy, half-awake morning sex. Well, kind of morning sex since it was only four thirty-seven.

Stiles fell asleep after that round and didn’t wake up again until ten to the smell of bacon and the sun shining into the room. He rolled onto his back, groaning and rubbing at his face, then sat up. His back protested the movement, but he just smiled to himself dopily because it hurt for a good reason.

When he climbed out of bed, he stumbled towards his clothes on the floor and picked them up, frowning when he found them to, indeed, be ripped beyond repair. Thankfully Scott’s coat had survived the ordeal, or he’d never hear the end of it.

Looking around, he shrugged and opened a few of Derek’s drawers, finding a pair of sweats and a shirt, yanking them both on. The sweats were way too big, but he managed to get them secured with the drawstring. The shirt hung off him, but that mattered a little less.

Rubbing at his face, he exited the bedroom and went to the bathroom to relieve himself. He didn’t want to use Derek’s toothbrush, but didn’t want morning breath to break any good morning kisses—despite the fact they had both definitely been kissing during their second fuck and had likely both had morning breath—so he used some of Derek’s mouthwash.

When he exited the bathroom and headed down the corridor to the kitchen, he found Derek at the stove wearing only plaid pyjama pants and headphones. He was obviously listening to music, head moving in time to the beat, but he paused and turned abruptly when Stiles approached, smiling at him and pulling them off.

“Good morning.”

“Morning,” Stiles muttered, moving over to him and wrapping his arms around him, burying his face in his chest and closing his eyes.

“Are those my clothes?”

“You ripped mine.”

“I’d say sorry, but you’re wearing my clothes, so I’d be lying.”

Stiles just grunted. He remembered Scott vaguely saying something about loving it when Kira wore his clothes, because she smelled like him, and figured it was a Werewolf thing if Derek liked it, too.

Derek shifted back around to the stove, one hand on Stiles’ lower back and the other continuing whatever it was he was making. He managed to keep cooking, despite the Stiles leech he had attached to him, and when the food was ready, Derek kissed his forehead and told him to go sit down. Stiles obeyed, stumbling away from him and falling down into one of the chairs at the table.

Derek brought over two plates, which had eggs benedict and bacon, then returned to the kitchen to get them both some coffee and orange juice.

They ate in comfortable silence, Stiles still trying to wake himself up, and Derek’s foot running along the back of Stiles’ left calf. Stiles felt content. More than content. He was really happy. Spending time with Derek made him happy, and he wanted this to continue for a long time.

Or forever. He was cool with that, too.

“I liked waking up beside you,” Derek said after they were both almost finished.

Stiles looked up at him, smiling at the pink in his cheeks. “I liked waking up beside you, too. The other times I woke up, anyway, since the last time I woke up alone.”

“I wanted to get food ready for you. Sorry if I woke you.”

“Bacon would wake anyone, so don’t even worry about it.” Stiles laughed, sipping at his coffee and resting his cheek in his hand, smiling at Derek.

“What?” Derek asked.

“Nothing. Just happy.”

Derek smiled. “Me too.”

“Still not sure how I feel about your bed, though,” Stiles insisted, taking another sip of coffee.

They spent the rest of their breakfast arguing the pros and cons of the waterbed. Stiles admitted it was good for sex, but felt like he woke up every time Derek had moved. Derek insisted it would take some getting used to, and Stiles realized that was a clear invitation for him to spend the night more often. He just grinned and agreed that more exposure to the bed would probably help change his mind.

Sunday was homework day, so after breakfast, Stiles gathered his ruined clothes and kissed Derek goodbye before heading home to do some homework. Derek told him he had errands to run anyway, and he’d drop by later.

Stiles showered and jerked off when he got home, still unable to believe this was his life now. He texted his dad and Scott, not giving them too much in way of detail, but just letting them know the date had been amazing.

He was doing his Calculus worksheets when Scott came over, bored at home since Kira was out, and needing someone to force him to focus on his homework. Stiles gave him a bag of yogurt chips Derek had made him, and hogged the jerky for himself while they worked.

Around five, there was a knock at his door and Stiles practically vaulted over his table to get to it, pulling it open and grinning at Derek, who smiled back at him. He glanced over Stiles’ shoulder, obviously seeing Scott, but returned his gaze to him quickly.

“I need to head out for a few hours, but I’ll let you know when I’m back. I know you have school tomorrow, but if you stay over I’ll make you breakfast.”

“I’d stay over even without breakfast,” Stiles insisted with a grin.

“Do you have any food left? I didn’t have time to make you something.”

“Derek, you are not my personal chef.” Stiles leaned forward, kissing him lingeringly. “I’ll order pizza. The Pizza Hut guys probably think I died.”

“I’ll allow it this one time, but don’t get used to it.” Derek kissed him again and smiled. “I’ll see you later.”

“Bye.” Stiles watched him walk down the corridor, grinning at the nice view of his ass, and waved before Derek disappeared into the elevator.

When he closed the door, he turned around and jumped when he found Scott standing right behind him, eyes wide and mouth hanging open.

“Stiles!”

“What?” he asked, confused.

“How the fuck do you know Derek Hale?!”

Stiles gave him a weird look and motioned the door behind him. “Derek? My neighbour Derek? My boyfriend Derek?”

“Oh my God!” Scott insisted, both hands in his hair and tugging. “Stiles! Oh my God! You’re dating Derek Hale?!”

“Yes?” Stiles asked, confused. “Why? How do you know Derek?”

“Are you serious right now?! You’ve been dating him and you don't know?!”

“Know what?” Stiles demanded.

“Stiles, Derek Hale is like, a super famous chef! He has twelve restaurants in New York alone, has his own cooking show, and guest stars as a judge on things like Chopped and Cutthroat Kitchen on the Food Network!”

Stiles stared at Scott, completely dumbfounded. He knew Derek was a chef, and Derek had even admitted that he’d been sought after while in culinary school, but he owned restaurants? He was on TV? What?

“Really?” he asked, feeling a little numb. “No wonder his food tastes so good.”

“Dude, how are you not freaking out?!” Scott demanded, but he was grinning from ear to ear. “You’re dating one of the best chefs in the city! This is amazing! I can’t believe people pay hundreds of dollars to eat at his restaurants and you get food from him on a daily basis for free!”

“What can I say? It’s my charm,” Stiles said with a grin, though inside he still felt numb.

“Annoying and clumsy?” Scott asked.

“Rude, Scotty,” he insisted with a scowl. “I thought we were friends.”

“Okay seriously, how did you not know this? Don’t you watch TV?”

“No, I watch movies.”

“Dude, this is amazing. You’re so lucky.”

“Yeah.” Stiles just went back to the table, Scott still gushing behind him but he eventually quieted down and went back to his homework.

Stiles just stared at his worksheet, not really knowing how he felt. He wasn’t mad or anything, it wasn’t like Derek had been hiding this from him, but he felt... weird, he supposed. He wondered if Derek thought it was hilarious that Stiles didn’t know. Or maybe he thought Stiles did know? But if he had, Stiles wouldn’t have asked about his job during their date.

He also remembered the weird reaction Derek had had that one time they’d been making out with the TV on. He’d been super into it, and then suddenly had jerked up and turned off the television. Had he maybe been on and hadn’t wanted Stiles to see? Maybe other relationships had ended badly when people found out who he was? Maybe they used him or something?

Stiles pulled his computer over and began googling Derek, something he thought was extremely weird to do, considering he hadn’t even known it was something he could do. Pictures of Derek’s smiling face appeared immediately, along with some of him heading into restaurants with women dressed to the nines. He kind of recognized the two women he saw the most frequently in the photos, and he eventually realized that they were both his sisters, Laura and Cora. He saw a few photos of his mother and father, as well, during one of the restaurant openings.

When he looked up his restaurants, he saw all of them had ‘wolf’ in the name, and both the restaurant he’d gone to with Satomi and the one from their date the previous night were owned by him. It explained why they hadn’t paid at either location, and why everyone had looked so nervous when they’d walked in the night before.

He even saw a small article posted earlier that day that spoke about Derek Hale having been spotted on a date in one of his restaurants with a mysterious young man.

I’m the mysterious young man! Stiles realized, heart pounding in his chest.

“Are you okay?”

Stiles shouted and whipped around, Scott right behind him, looking concerned.

“Scotty, he is like, way too good for me,” Stiles insisted, feeling crestfallen. “I’m like, this stupid little annoying university student who eats too much pizza and plays video games. He’s some super famous chef with his own restaurants and TV shows and is in the news and—”

“Stiles,” Scott insisted, grabbing him by the shoulders and giving him a shake. “Derek likes you. You don’t have to be some big name hotshot to deserve him. You guys get along, he likes spending time with you, you like spending time with him. That’s all that matters. Who he is and what he does for a living isn’t important. Don’t overthink this.”

Stiles nodded, letting out a slow breath, and ordered their pizza since he had the computer in front of him. He struggled through the rest of his worksheet until the pizza arrived, then they sat and watched some TV. They ended up on the Food Network, and coincidentally watched an episode of Chopped where Derek was a judge. It was weird seeing him on the screen, critiquing food and smiling confidently. It was the same way he’d been acting in the restaurant. It wasn’t arrogant or anything, just comfortable. Derek was in his domain, and the confidence was telling.

They watched two episodes, Derek judging in both of them, and then turned off the television when another show came on.

Scott left an hour afterwards, insisting that Stiles shouldn’t overthink it and that he deserved Derek as much as Derek deserved him. Stiles tried to believe him, but he ended up just sitting on his couch with his knees drawn up, hugging a pillow and biting at his thumbnail.

When time started creeping closer to when Derek was likely due home, he couldn’t handle it anymore and he pulled out his phone.

[User]
hey
[User]
so
[User]
question
[User]
are you some super famous tv star chef who just happens to live in my building?

He didn’t get a response for close to twenty minutes, which just made him feel even more nervous, but eventually Derek’s name appeared on his screen and he hastily opened the message.

[Derek]
You found out.

[User]
was it a secret?

[Derek]
No, of course not.
[Derek]
But people get weird when they find out who I am.
[Derek]
They start expecting things from me
[Derek]
And while I know you’re not going to be like that
[Derek]
Because you’ve been different every step of the way
[Derek]
I didn’t want you to get uncomfortable about it.
[Derek]
I was going to tell you at dinner, but because of what happened on Friday night when you were getting outfits organized
[Derek]
I got worried that you wouldn’t want to go out with me anymore
[Derek]
So I wanted to wait a bit before telling you about it.

[User]
this is crazy
[User]
you’re like, some huge deal in NYC
[User]
i’m like, this little gremlin who hides in a dark apartment eating pizza

[Derek]
Stiles, you are fucking AMAZING.
[Derek]
You are literally the best thing to ever have happened to me.
[Derek]
I’m sorry
[Derek]
I was going to tell you
[Derek]
Please don’t be mad

[User]
i’m not mad
[User]
i’m not
[User]
i get it, i just
[User]
i don’t understand how this happened
[User]
you’re amazing and nice and sweet and you go for brunch with a granny every month and like
[User]
you’re too perfect for me
[User]
but i selfishly want to keep you

[Derek]
I’m NOT too perfect for you!
[Derek]
GOOD! Please keep me!
[Derek]
Stiles, you’re being ridiculous
[Derek]
You’re AMAZING
[Derek]
And I love you

Stiles stared at the words, heart leaping somewhere up in his throat. What? What?!

[Derek]
Fuck
[Derek]
Look
[Derek]
I’ll be home in ten minutes okay?
[Derek]
I’m coming over
[Derek]
Please open the door

Stiles just kept staring at his phone, heart beginning to beat a mile a minute. Had Derek actually just said he loved him? Holy shit. Holy fucking shit!

Closing out of his messages, Stiles went to his contacts, found a number, hit call, and put the phone to his ear.

“Hello?”

“Derek is a super famous chef and on TV and owns restaurants and he just said he loves me and he’s coming over and what do I do?!” he blurted out, on his feet and beginning to pace, one hand tugging at his hair.

“Stiles?” 

“No, it’s your other panicking son, of course it’s Stiles!” he insisted, flailing his free arm.

“Son, calm down.” He heard his dad shifting and then a door close, the man likely having shut his office door to hear him better and gain some privacy. If he was at work, Stiles was lucky he’d answered his cell phone at all. “Start over, slowly.”

Stiles took a breath and then explained once more as quickly as he could, knowing Derek was on his way. His dad listened without interrupting, and once Stiles was finished, he heard the man let out a small laugh.

“Why are you laughing?! It’s not funny, dad!”

“I mean, it kind of is. Stiles, why does it matter who he is? You’ve been with him for the past few weeks, and you’ve been happy. He hasn’t acted any differently with you than if he’d just been someone manning the grill at a local pub. You like him, and he likes you, not because of what you both do with your day to day lives, but because of who you both are. Don’t overthink this.”

“That’s what Scott said,” Stiles muttered.

“Scott’s right. Stiles, all I’ve been hearing about for weeks is how amazing Derek is, how much you like him, how nice he is. You even said you loved him once, but I don’t think you remember, you were talking pretty fast.”

Stiles felt a flush creeping up the back of his neck. He’d also asked Derek to marry him more than once, so really, wasn’t that the equivalent of “I love you”? Realistically, he’d said the words to Derek first.

Tapping his fingers rapidly against his own thigh, Stiles continued pacing, mind going a mile a minute. “What if he thinks I only like him because of his food? Or he thinks I want money from him? Dad, I can barely date normal people, he’s super famous!”

“Stiles, has it occurred to you that the reason Derek likes you so much is because you treat him like a normal person? You love that he cooks for you, but always tell him he doesn’t have to. You spend time with him because you want to. You write him notes, you text him, you go out with him. Stiles, you’re in a normal relationship, what he does for a living and how famous he is doesn’t matter. He’s just Derek, and you’re just Stiles. Don’t overthink it. I can tell how much you care about him, so just accept that this is who he is, and move on.”

It was harder than that to just accept! Stiles didn’t want to fuck anything up, but his dad just kept repeating the same things over and over again and eventually he calmed down enough to hang up. He fell onto his couch, covering his face with his hands, and tried to breathe.

His dad was right. Derek was just Derek. Sure, he was famous, but Stiles had already known he was a good chef. He was just more of a good chef than Stiles had realized. Everything was fine, and he didn’t need to panic about this. It wasn’t a big deal.

Sure, Stiles was a nobody in university, but who knew? In four years, maybe Stiles would win a Nobel Peace Prize or a Pulitzer or something. Maybe he would be a big deal one day!

For some reason, that made him feel better. It was ridiculous, and totally unrealistic, but realizing that he was a nobody who could be somebody made it easier for him to realize that Derek had once also been a nobody who was now a somebody.

And he didn’t act like someone with a lot of money. He wasn’t pompous, he didn’t flaunt his wealth, and he wasn’t pretentious or an asshole. He took a woman out to brunch once a month to one of his super expensive restaurants for free. He'd been cooking for Stiles for months, slowly building a friendship and eventually a relationship. All of this just because he wanted Stiles to eat better, and because he thought he was cute and really nice.

Yes, Derek was rich and successful and famous and oh so hot, but he was also extremely kind, and sweet, and so shy it was adorable, and he liked Stiles for Stiles. He liked him because Stiles was somebody to Derek.

He felt a lot calmer when he really thought about it, and thanked God for his dad. Scott had tried, bless him, but he hadn’t really figured out how panicked Stiles really was. Even if he had, nobody could talk Stiles down off a ledge like his dad could.

His head shot towards the door when he heard a tentative knock and he instantly stood. His heart was pounding again but he gave himself a rough shake and headed over to it, pulling it open without hesitation.

Derek looked really nervous on the other side, holding a take-out box in his hands and shifting his weight.

Stiles couldn’t help but smile, any worries he’d had instantly vanishing. Derek was so nervous and shy, even though he was so successful, that even if Stiles felt like he didn’t deserve him, he would work at it until he did.

“I brought you cake.”

“You don’t have to feed me all the time, you know,” Stiles insisted, moving aside to let him in. “I keep telling you, I’ll still talk to you, even without the food.”

Derek walked into the living room, then turned to face him, still holding the box in both hands and eyes on the floor.

“I’m really sorry.”

“I’m not mad,” Stiles insisted again, hoping that Derek believed him now that they were speaking in person. “Derek,” he said seriously, forcing the other to look him in the eye. “I’m not mad. I just... I don’t think I deserve you, but!” he said loudly, Derek’s mouth opening to interrupt him, “I’m going to work so that I do deserve you. Because I like spending time with you, and I like being with you. I just want you to know that it’s not the food. I mean, like I said before, the food was always a bonus, but it’s not the food I’m in love with, it’s you.”

Derek stared at him, expression unreadable, but Stiles could slowly see colour beginning to creep up his neck and his ears were turning pink. Stiles smiled and went to grab some forks from the kitchen. He fell down at the table and motioned for Derek to join him. He did, setting the box down and Stiles opened it, slicing into the cake and taking a bite.

“You could’ve told me, you know,” he insisted, pointing his fork at Derek. “Why didn’t you ever say anything?”

“I wasn’t hiding it,” Derek muttered, eyes on the box while he took his own bite. “People just get weird about it. I knew you’d be worrying about exactly what you’re thinking now, and I didn’t want that. Just because I know how to cook doesn’t mean I’m better than you.”

Stiles smiled at that, kicking Derek lightly under the table. “You’re adorable.”

“Shut up, Stiles,” Derek said, but he was smiling down at the table.

They were silent for a moment longer, eating the cake, both of them thinking. Stiles felt a little better than he had before, and he thought Derek looked less nervous. Stiles felt like Scott’s excitement and awe over who Derek was might have amped up his nerves a little bit, so he was glad that he’d spoken to his dad before Derek came by.

“Sorry I freaked out a little,” Stiles finally said when the cake was almost gone. “It was just a bit of a shock.”

“Sorry I didn’t tell you.”

“Well, as long as you can put up with me, we’ll work it out.” Stiles grinned.

“Stiles, there’s nothing to put up with.” Derek stared at him so seriously it almost made him uncomfortable. “I told you about how I got my eyes, and you hugged me for it. I wolfed out while we were making out, and you insisted it was fine. I creepily listened to you through the wall and made you food, and you called me endearing and said I could bend you over a table.”

“Oh God!” Stiles covered his face. “You did not hear that!”

“Stiles,” Derek continued, ignoring his outburst and grabbing his wrists, pulling his hands away from his face. “You accept me. All of me. No one has ever done that before outside my Pack. I’ve had a crush on you since the first day you moved in and I heard you bantering through the wall with your dad. When I saw you in the elevator, you were fucking cute, and I could barely handle it. The fact that you actually appreciated my food, encouraged me to talk to you, sent me notes and your phone number so we could get to know each other—Stiles, you are amazing. You are amazing, and I don’t deserve you. But I am more than happy to be selfish and keep you.”

Stiles felt embarrassed, but also extremely delighted, and he leaned forward to kiss Derek. “I love you, Derek Hale.”

Derek smiled. “I love you, Stiles Stilinski.” He frowned. “Mieczyslaw?”

Stiles burst out laughing, shaking his head. “Close enough. We’ll practice. A for effort.”

“It’s a hard name,” Derek insisted, almost pouting. Stiles just kissed him again and stood, putting the forks in the dishwasher and throwing out the box.

Derek was standing beside the table, shifting his weight awkwardly while watching him. “Are you coming over tonight?”

“Never gonna get used to that bed if I don’t spend more time in it,” Stiles said with a grin.

Derek smiled, clearly relieved, and Stiles promised he’d be over in a bit. When Derek left, Stiles took a quick shower, got his things organized for the following day, and then headed next door in his pyjamas. Derek was so fucking pleased when he opened the door that Stiles really felt like Derek didn’t realize how awesome he was.

They went to bed relatively quickly after his arrival, but stayed awake talking for a while longer. Stiles ended up falling asleep with his back pressed against Derek’s chest, the Werewolf holding him like he never wanted to let him go.

When he woke up for class the following morning, Derek hadn’t moved an inch in the night, still clutching him like Stiles was the most precious thing in the world to him.


“I still can’t believe you’re dating Derek Hale,” Scott insisted, stabbing at his cafeteria-made macaroni and cheese while Stiles ate salad from a tupperware container. Derek had made it for him quickly while Stiles was getting ready for class in his own apartment, and he again reminded him he didn’t expect food all the time. Derek had kissed him and basically told him too bad.

Stiles wasn’t going to complain. He loved Derek either way, but the food was a nice bonus.

“You’re gonna give me a bigger complex, dude,” Stiles insisted. “Can you stop? I already almost had a meltdown last night, I’m trying to get over it. Derek is just Derek, people happen to know him, is all. It’s like my dad back home. He’s the sheriff. People know him. No big deal.”

“It’s kind of a big deal.”

Stiles was glad when Kira slapped him across the back of the head, otherwise he would’ve done it himself.

“I think it’s really nice,” she said with a smile. “I’m glad you found each other. You both sound super cute, and I can’t wait to meet him.”

“Thanks.” Stiles smiled. “Dad’s excited to meet him, too. Well, he already was before, but now he’s more excited because he’s hoping Derek’s got some more healthy recipes for him. I’m just hoping Derek doesn’t think dad’s using him.”

“I’m sure Derek will do anything your dad asks to get on his good side,” Scott insisted with a laugh.

“Maybe.” Stiles grinned and stabbed his fork into his salad again.

The three of them finished lunch in comfortable chatter, then parted ways to head to their next classes. Stiles got a text from Derek while he was heading for the bus stop, telling him he’d be out late but that he’d slipped a spare key under his door and to make himself at home in his apartment.

Stiles reminded him he had his own apartment right next door, but Derek insisted he liked having Stiles around, and he wanted to come home to him. Stiles had found that too fucking adorable to resist and agreed to be there.

He put the key on his keychain when he got home, and did some homework for a bit before heading over to Derek’s. He hung out on the couch watching the Food Network, kind of obsessed with it now that he knew Derek was on every now and then.

He was in the middle of eating a bunch of caramel popcorn when his phone went off and he checked it to find a message from Derek.

[Derek]
What was it you called me the other day?

[User]
what?

[Derek]
At the restaurant
[Derek]
You called me something
[Derek]
Grumpy Wolf?

[User]
i think it was sourwolf
[User]
why?

[Derek]
Thanks

Stiles cocked an eyebrow, texted a bunch of question marks, but Derek didn’t respond. He just shrugged and went back to watching TV.

Around seven, he texted Derek to say he was ordering Chinese and asked what he wanted. Derek insisted he’d be home soon to make dinner, but Stiles put his foot down and said he needed a break and asked again what he wanted. Derek grudgingly gave him his order and Stiles called for delivery.

The food arrived ten minutes before Derek did, so Stiles had the table set and the food ready to go by the time he got home. He smiled so widely when he walked through the door that Stiles felt his heart skip a beat and grinned back.

“Look, I made you dinner,” Stiles teased.

Derek just rolled his eyes, walking further into the apartment after having locked the door, carrying a folder under one arm. He kissed Stiles when he passed him at the table, then set the folder down on the counter and took a seat.

“How was class?”

“Fine. Discussed finals in one of them, so now I’m freaking out a little thinking about that, but I always do so it’s fine.” Stiles dumped some fried rice onto his plate, then traded it for Derek’s sweet and sour pork. “How was work?”

“Good. Spent a few hours recording this morning, checked in with a few of my restaurants.” He paused then, looking at Stiles. “I want to show you something.”

“Okay,” Stiles said, mouth full of food. He watched Derek turn to grab the folder, pulling it open and handing it to him. Stiles shifted his plate aside, not wanting to spill any food on it, and started flipping through the pages.

“It’s a new restaurant I’ve been talking about opening for a while. Satomi’s been encouraging me to branch out a little bit, try something a bit bolder. I kind of wanted to open a fun place that was still high class, but more affordable for people like her, and also younger people without a lot of money.”

“That’s really cool,” Stiles said, grinning up at him, then returning his focus to the concept designs. “I like it. It’s modern and classy, but it’s also less intimidating than the two restaurants I went to.”

Derek was silent for a while, watching Stiles flip through the pages, and when he reached the last one, his eyes shot up. Derek looked a little uncertain.

“I kind of liked it,” he admitted quietly. “I thought that maybe this could help be your mark. This restaurant is catered more towards people like you, anyway. I figured you could help be my guinea pig with the food, and we can try and talk about prices before I move forward with my team.”

Stiles just stared at him for a while longer, then looked back down at the concept design for the sign that would hang at the front of the restaurant.

The Sour Wolf.

“What do you think?” Derek asked cautiously.

Stiles closed the folder and stood. “I think dinner’s over and I will see you in the bedroom in thirty seconds or else.”

Derek looked relieved, and he smiled broadly, getting to his feet and rounding the table in two steps, grabbing Stiles around the waist and kissing him. “Didn’t you say something about being bent over a table.”

“Only if you promise to eat whipped cream off me.”

“I told you, it gets sticky.”

“Live a little!”

Derek rolled his eyes, but Stiles considered it a win when he went to the fridge and Stiles quickly cleared everything off the table. Derek had gone to get the lube before he was finished, and despite the fact that Stiles knew he was going to be miserable the next day because fucking against a table was not comfortable, he didn’t care.

Derek was amazing. Derek was everything he wanted.

Stiles was so fucking happy he’d opened his door.

END.