Stiles pulled his Jeep up to the curb in front of his dad’s house.
And Melissa’s now, he mentally corrected. He looked up at the brightly lit windows surrounded by strings of Christmas lights, and the forms of people crossing back and forth in front of them. He hadn’t been back to Beacon Hills in a while, but Mrs. McCall-Stilinski had insisted he join them for their New Year’s slash Elopement Celebration party, particularly since he had neglected to come up for Christmas. He and Scott figured staying in the city for the holiday was good payback for not informing their sons that they were heading to Vegas to get hitched.
He checked his eyes in the rear view mirror and decided he looked relatively good, considering the ungodly hour he’d gotten in the night before. Stiles grabbed his overnight bag off the passenger seat and swung open the door of the Jeep. He sidled up the sidewalk, pulled the front door open, and was immediately bombarded with the high-speed projectile of an over-enthusiastic friend.
“Stiles!” Scott yowled, as he pounced and showered his drink down the front of Stiles’ shirt.
“Hey, brother of mine!” Stiles gleefully returned. He wondered how soon the novelty of them being actual brothers now, AWESOME was going to last. Considering it had been all of two days since they’d seen each other last... it was going to take a while.
“Shit man,” Scott said, looking at the large wet spot on Stiles’ button down. “Didn’t mean to drench you, bro.”
“Eh, no big. I’ll just go and change. Let the folks know I’m here, okay?” Stiles clapped Scott on the shoulder and headed up the stairs to his old bedroom. He pushed open the door and smiled at the room that hadn’t changed a bit in the eight years since he’d graduated high school. He dropped his bag onto the bedspread and opened the top flap, before raising an eyebrow.
Apparently, his drunk self had thought to pack six pairs of underwear, a hair straightener - the fuck, I didn’t even know I owned one - and a huge bottle of lube - what the hell, brain - but no shirts. He sighed and headed to his old dresser and pawed through the graphic tees that he had left behind. He pulled the least wrinkled shirt out and held it up to inspect it.
Heh, stud muffin. Still funny.
Stiles pulled the shirt over his head and headed back downstairs. He stopped in the empty kitchen and grabbed a beer out of the fridge before making a beeline for his dad, standing by the fireplace.
“Hey, Dad,” Stiles said.
“... Really? Stud muffin?” John said, rolling his eyes.
“Hey, my shirt got wet! I needed to change,” Stiles protested.
John looked unimpressed. “And you couldn’t just take one of my shirts because?”
“I’m not even thirty yet, I can’t be wearing dad-clothes!” Stiles sputtered, indignant. John snorted and took a sip of his drink. Stiles smiled and asked, “Seriously though, how’re you doing?”
“Great, kid,” John said. “How about you?”
“Smooth sailing, as always, Pops,” Stiles said, grinning widely. John didn’t look convinced, fiddling with his drink.
“Melissa wanted you to come find her when you got here. Have you seen her yet?”
Stiles looked confused. “Noooo, not yet. Why does she want to see me?”
John pursed his lips before blowing out a breath and mumbling, “Well, we have some people here...their son is single, and she was thinking...”
“Oh my God,” Stiles groaned, “Is she already trying to fix me up? Is this what she thinks her motherly duty is going to be for me?”
“She just wants you to be as happy as Scott is.” John said, looking as though he knew that sounded weak.
Stiles put a hand up and John trailed off. “Look, I know we’re all super-happy that Scott was able to find the love of his life in college, but I’m doing fine. I date!”
“And how’s that going?” John said, blunt as ever.
Stiles gave him the stink-eye. John just raised an eyebrow and returned his steely gaze. Finally, Stiles threw up his hands.
“Fine! I’ll go talk to this guy. Who is it, anyway?”
“Derek Hale,” John said. Stiles just looked at him, raising his own eyebrow back in question.
“Derek Hale,” John repeated and laughed disbelievingly at Stiles’ blank look. “The Hales lived in Beacon Hills years ago. Your mother was close with Talia Hale, who’s Derek’s mother. Ring a bell?”
Stiles flinched a little at the mention of his mother, but there was something like a tickle of recognition going off in his brain. He asked tentatively, “Big house...in the woods?”
“That’s right,” John replied. “After your mother died, we kind of lost contact with them, and a few years later, they moved away. About six months ago, they came back to town and Melissa formed an unholy bond with Talia, commiserating over their sons’ sad social lives.”
“Hey, I wasn’t her son then!”
“She still cared about you. With how long you and Scott have been joined at the hip, can you blame her?”
“I guess not,” Stiles grumbled, shuffling his feet.
John looked over his head and muttered, “Incoming,” out of the corner of his mouth.
Stiles turned and greeted Melissa with a grin. She hugged him close. “Has John told you about Derek?” Melissa asked, looking to her new husband. He tipped her a salute with his drink. Melissa smiled and started steering Stiles across the room by his elbow. “Now, Derek’s a lawyer at a firm in San Francisco. Isn’t that perfect? Right where you are!”
“Yeah, great.” Stiles said, hoping his smile looked sincere.
“His mother, Talia, has told me all these great stories about when Claudia used to bring you around. Apparently, you were quite the nudist, and spent a lot of time streaking around their yard.”
Stiles did a double-take, his eyes bugging out of his head.
What the hell?!
Melissa noticed his expression and waved her hand dismissively. “Oh for crying out loud Stiles, half of what mothers talk about is weird stuff kids did when they were little.”
“That’s nice,” he groused. She pulled him toward the dining room where he saw the back of a tall, broad-shouldered man talking to an older couple that looked vaguely familiar, who he guessed were the Hales.
Oooh...maybe I can work with this.
“Derek!” Melissa called, and the man started to turn, showing off a pair of startling eyes under severe eyebrows, and perfectly stubbled cheeks.
Holy fucksticks, this guy is seriously hot.
Stiles’ gaze drifted downwards.
Holy fucksticks, this guy is actually wearing a REINDEER SWEATER, ABORT ABORT.
Derek looked Stiles up and down, an unimpressed look on his face. Stiles remembered the shirt he himself had chosen to put on and felt himself coloring.
Whoops. Apparently I have a nice pile of stones to go with my glass house.
He took a sip of his beer, aiming for casual.
“Derek, this is Stiles.” Melissa said. Stiles cringed at her overly bright tone. She continued, “The last time you saw him, he was probably running around your yard naked!”
Derek’s eyebrows went up into his hairline and Stiles choked on his mouthful of beer.
Talia broke in with, “Really, Melissa? Let’s not embarrass the boy.” Melissa shrugged and smirked, looking unapologetic.
“It’s nice to see you again, Stiles.” Talia said, “It’s been too long.”
“Thanks,” Stiles said, smiling slightly. Talia gave her husband a look before grabbing Melissa’s arm and hauling her away, whispering in her ear. Her husband trailed behind, after shooting his son a what can you do? look. Derek sniffed and looked down into his drink. Stiles watched him expectantly, before blurting, “Are you in town for the holidays?”
Derek nodded. “Yes,” he said. Stiles raised his eyebrows and waited.
Derek cleared his throat. “You?” he asked.
“Just for tonight. I’m heading back to San Francisco in the morning with my step-brother. He lives in the city too, with his fiancee.” He tapered off and the silence returned.
“I think I’m going to grab something to eat,” Derek said, walking off without another word. Stiles gaped after him.
Well, that was one for the books.
He huffed and went off to find Scott. Stiles found him in the corner, swigging the last of his beer. He looked up as Stiles approached and made a face.
“Having fun yet?” he asked.
“You know it,” Stiles said and Scott giggled.
“Hey, do me a favor, Stiles, and grab me another beer, would ya?” Stiles rolled his eyes, but turned to head to the kitchen. Before he walked through the door, he heard Derek’s voice.
“Mom, seriously, a blind date?”
Stiles heard Talia reply, “He’s single, and he used to be a lot of fun to have around. Plus, he lives in the same city as you...” Stiles heard a snort that had to come from Derek.
“I don’t need help finding a date, Mom. Especially not with some awkward man-child who looks like he never graduated high school.” Stiles ground his teeth and walked through the kitchen door. Both Hales stopped talking and looked up with identical deer-in-headlights expressions on their faces that would have been hilarious if Stiles wasn’t so cheesed. He brushed past them and grabbed two beers out of the fridge before tossing a glare over his shoulder.
What a class-A prick. I’d call this a dodged bullet.
Stiles straightened his back and walked out of the kitchen with all the assumed dignity he could muster.
The shrill tone of Stiles’ alarm jerked him rudely out of his sleep. He slammed his hand on the snooze button and cursed when he sent the stupid alarm clock sailing off his nightstand.
Now time for the age-old game of ‘how far can I reach without actually leaving my bed.’
Stiles stretched his body off the side of the bed before the comforter started to slide and he rode it to the floor, landing gently in a heap. He slapped the snooze button again and blessed silence returned. He lay with his cheek against the floor, feeling his drool-slick cheek no doubt picking up lots of fuzz from the carpet.
Just perfect. Another wonderful start to a new year.
He managed to peel himself off the carpet and staggered to the bathroom to take a shower, after which he felt marginally more human. When he got back to his bedroom his stubbed his toe on a book that he must have stepped right over on his way out of the room. He hopped around the room, cursing creatively and squinting down at the floor. Stiles bent over and picked up the book. He turned it over in his hands, its dark blue cover non-descript.
“Sooo,” he mumbled aloud, “This wasn’t an alcohol induced hallucination.”
The night before, Scott had ceremoniously presented Stiles with a late Christmas gift from him and his fiancee, Allison. Stiles had gleefully torn open the paper to find the book filled with empty pages. He had looked at Scott, confused, and Scott had said, “A journal, Stiles,” with a look on his face that suggested he was less than appreciative of Stiles’ non-reaction.
“What for?” Stiles had asked, and Scott had gone on a tirade about Allison’s research into the health benefits of keeping a diary. He had rattled off an impressive list including reducing stress and becoming better at problem solving, “not to mention keeping your thoughts in order,” with a pointed look.
“Okay...I’ll try not to take that personally.”
Scott had clapped Stiles on the shoulder. “The least you could do is try it, man. Allison was all jazzed about this.”
“You got it, Scotty. I’ll give it a go.”
Stiles shook his head to clear it, and huffed out a small laugh. He tossed the book into his overnight bag and got dressed to have breakfast with his dad and Melissa.
Stiles strolled through the door of the ad agency where he worked and made a beeline for the elevator, jumping inside before the doors clanged shut. The only other person in the elevator looked up from the file he was reading and grinned, “Hey, Stiles. Have a nice holiday?”
“Danny! Not bad...it’s always nice to see my dad.” Stiles tried to walk forward and jerked to a stop. He turned and saw his pant leg had caught in the elevator door. Danny leaned to the side and chuckled when he saw the door.
“Yeah, laugh it up,” Stiles grumbled and resigned himself to pressing his rear against the door for the ride up to the third floor. The doors opened and Stiles staggered backward, Danny reaching his arm out to catch him. They both headed down the hallway, the wall of windows letting in streams of bright sunlight. Before they headed their separate ways, Danny said,
“So, Stiles. This Friday, we’re going out for drinks, and you’re coming with.”
Remember Stiles, drink less! This is only January 4th, don’t make this the fastest resolution fail in history.
“I don’t know, Danny. I was kind of thinking about taking it easy, just staying in.”
Danny shook his head and slung his arm around Stiles’ shoulders, “Nope. Not gonna get out of this. I finally broke up with that douchenozzle, Jake, and I am going out to celebrate. I already invited Scott and Lydia. You have to come.”
Hmmm....I’ll probably end up drinking. But Danny needs his friends. Be a better friend...drink less.
....Be a better friend it is!
“Okay, you’ve convinced me,” Stiles said, smiling broadly.
“Atta boy,” Danny replied, clapping Stiles on the shoulder and veering off into his office.
Stiles continued down the hall before he entered the large, open room where his desk was located, surrounded by multiple offices. He knew his job was little more than a glorified secretary, but there were some perks. The majority of his higher-ups were seriously attractive people, and the glass walls of their offices allowed some quality ogling time throughout the day. Hey, he had to keep himself occupied some way besides continually sneaking Candy Crush time on his computer.
Speaking of ogling...
The trim and well-dressed form of Peter glided into the room, his brow furrowed as he flipped through the large ring binder in his hands. He looked up as he approached Stiles’ desk and favored him with a smile.
“Stilinski,” he said, “good morning.”
“Good morning, sir,” Stiles returned and Peter gave an exaggerated shudder.
“How many times, Stilinski? ‘Sir’ makes me feel ancient. Call me Peter.” He pulled a sheet of paper out of the binder and slapped it on Stiles’ desk. “I need you to contact Mr. Mackenzie. Their company has some issues with their contract and I need to set up a meeting to sort it out.”
Stiles grabbed the paper and jotted down contact information. “Right away...Peter.”
Peter smirked, “Good boy,” before turning and heading into his office. Stiles watched him settle down at his desk and start typing on his computer before he realized he was staring and hastily picked up the phone.
After what seemed like hours of getting the runaround and playing phone-tag, Stiles had the meeting set up for Peter. He slammed the phone down and dropped his head onto his desk. Two seconds later, the phone rang again and Stiles stifled a screech. He pulled the receiver to his ear and put on his chipper voice.
“Storm and Hansen Ad Agency, how can I help you?” The second he was finished speaking, a burst of colorful invective poured from the earpiece. Stiles jerked the receiver away and let Lydia wind herself down. He brought the phone back to his ear and said, “Jackson, again?”
“Why is he so fucking useless?! One night, ONE NIGHT, is all I want. Just to spend some time together, but nooooo, he’s too busy for that.”
Stiles pinched the bridge of his nose between two fingers. “Jackson’s always been a selfish prick Lydia. I don’t know how many times we have to go over this.” Lydia sputtered a bit, but Stiles was just getting warmed up. “Seriously, Lydia, you deserve so much better. You’re gorgeous, smart to a terrifying degree, anyone would be lucky to have you. Jackson’s just got his swollen head pushed so far up his own ass he can probably taste hair gel in the back of his throat. He’s a dickhead, a vile, festering pimple in the armpit of humanity...” Stiles swiveled his chair around and the words died in his mouth at the sight Peter standing next to his desk, one eyebrow raised.
OH FUCK FUCK FUCKITY FUCK FUCK!
He wheezed out a near silent, “I gotta go,” and fumbled the phone back in its cradle. Peter dropped a stack of paperwork on Stiles’ desk and walked away without another word. Stiles felt like a stone had settled in the bottom of his stomach.
Definitely drinking this weekend.
He buried his face in his hands and sighed.
Stiles gaped at Danny, his mouth working soundlessly.
Danny crossed his arms and asked, “Well...what do you have to say for yourself?”
Stiles stewed for a few minutes before glaring daggers at Scott and hissing, “You traitor.” Scott’s eyes widened and he scooched himself closer to Allison, who was giggling behind her hands. He turned back to Danny and said, “It was just a stupid bet...I was drunk and shot my mouth off. I swear I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.” He refrained from batting his eyelashes and tried to school his face into what he hoped was a dutifully contrite expression.
Danny shook his head, looking serious. “I don’t know, Stiles. Betting on how quickly someone’s relationship will last...that’s pretty assholish.”
Stiles nodded vigorously. “I know, I know, I’m a giant tool. Can we please move on from this topic?”
“Not quite yet,” Danny drawled. “According to my information, my relationship with Jake lasted quite a bit longer than you thought it would...I would say you lost the bet.”
Stiles quailed and looked to Lydia for assistance, but she looked far too amused. She had made up with Jackson before coming out and Stiles guessed his description of her boyfriend as a festering pimple was coming back to bite him in the ass in a big way. Stiles sighed in defeat and asked, “What am I going to have to do.”
“I’ll have to think on it, Stilinski,” Danny said and laughed. “But I’ll make it good.”
“I can’t wait,” Stiles said, voice flat.
“So, Stiles,” Allison said, “Lydia tells me you might have fucked up with your boss?”
Stiles groaned. “Don’t remind me. I don’t want to think about being unemployed on top of being eternally single and desperately horny.” Stiles had resolutely spent the rest of the week avoiding Peter as often as possible and hiding in Danny’s office. Nothing had come of it yet, but Stiles wasn’t discounting a shitstorm raining down on him at any moment.
Danny shrugged. “Peter wouldn’t fire you over some swear words and personal phone time. But if you think it’ll help, I vote for an under the desk blowjob to get things back in your favor.”
Stiles snorted and clinked his bottle with Danny’s. “I’ll drink to that.”
Stiles trudged into the office mid-Saturday morning, vowing to get some of the paperwork he fell behind on during the week out of the way. He took two steps toward his desk and froze when he saw Peter in his office on the phone.
Don’t panic. Just go get some work done and he probably won’t even bother you.
Stiles made his way to his desk and started in on his filing. After a few minutes, his computer chimed, letting him know he had an inter-departmental email.
Rough night or fun night?
Stiles stared at his screen before looking over to Peter’s office, where he was seemingly engrossed in a phone conversation. He typed up a quick reply.
Maybe a little bit of both. Why do you ask?
Stiles drummed his fingers his desk, curious what Peter's reply would be.
You look a little worse for wear.
Stiles grimaced, rubbing at his face. He sent back another reply.
Only a few seconds passed before there was another chime.
Come now, don’t be like that. Maybe I’m just wondering what it takes to make you look as debauched as you do right now.
Stiles felt his jaw drop. He looked at the screen, then up at Peter, whose mouth was curled into a smile. He looked back at the computer, his brain trying to catch up with the fact that Peter was flirting with him. Flirting? Propositioning? Either way, Stiles was so on board. He gathered his courage and sent back a reply.
Maybe I’d like you to find out.
Stiles waited, breathless with anticipation, smacking at his keyboard the second he heard it chime.
Color me intrigued Stilinski.
Stiles looked himself over in the mirror, adjusting his hair and brushing imaginary lint off his shoulders.
This is as good as it gets, I guess.
He sighed and left his bathroom to flop down onto the couch. He had fifteen minutes before Danny was going to show up so they could ride together to work. After all the flirting with Peter, Stiles had high hopes for tonight. He was going to be suave, well-spoken, debonair.
The door buzzer sounding startled him out of his thoughts and he ran to the intercom.
“Hey, Danny,” Stiles said, “come on up.” He pressed the button to unlock the door. A minute later there was a rap on his door and Stiles went to open it. When he did he recoiled at the downright evil expression on Danny’s face.
“Time to settle up on that bet, Stiles,” Danny said, solemn, before holding up the Victoria’s Secret bag in his hand. “I’ve got something special for you to wear tonight.”
“Oh no.” Stiles said. “You gotta be fucking kidding me.”
“Not even a little bit,” Danny smirked, waggling the bag. Stiles grabbed it out of his hand and peered inside, blanching at the sight of purple satin and black lace.
“I dunno, Danny, I don’t think it’s really my color.”
“They’re going on, Stiles.” He looked ready to stand there all night if necessary.
“Oh my god, fine!” Stiles marched into his bedroom and stripped off his pants and underwear before he pulled the
SATIN PANTIES OH MY GOD
out of the bag and ripped the price tag off. He eyed them before rolling his eyes and pulling them on, the lace catching on his leg hair. He maneuvered his dick and balls around until there was some semblance of coverage and threw his pants back on.
Count your blessings. It could have been a thong.
He marched out of his bedroom, a scowl on his face. Danny was sitting on his couch, legs crossed, looking like the smuggest bastard on the planet.
“Can we leave now?” Stiles grumbled. Danny just crossed his arms and waited. Stiles huffed, reaching into his pants and pulled the panties up with one hand so a section of lace was visible. Danny stood up and clapped him on the shoulder.
“Okay, I’m good. We can go now.”
“I hate you so much,” Stiles groused, rubbing his forehead. Danny slung his arm around Stiles’ shoulder.
“You love me. Now let’s go schmooze our bosses.”
The sound of laughter and conversation greeted Stiles and Danny as they entered the main atrium of their agency. Danny moved to give him a one-armed hug and Stiles shoved him off, discreetly flipping him the bird. Danny laughed and Stiles gave him a wry grin before he headed off to the find the drinks. He grabbed a soda
Drink less – good choice, Stiles!
and spun off the cap, tossing it back onto the table. He took a swig and turned around, bumping hard into someone else.
“Oh, man, I’m so sorry,” Stiles said, looking up. “Derek?!”
Derek Hale stared back at him, looking spooked.
“Why are you here?” Stiles squawked, before cringing at his tone.
“I’m here with my law partner. She knows Kali Storm,” Derek replied matter-of-factly. He shuffled a foot and asked, almost timidly, “How are you doing?”
“Recovered from the holidays, if that’s what you mean,” Stiles stated, and he was pleased at the flush of color that appeared on Derek’s cheeks. Suddenly a tall, shapely brunette woman glided up next to Derek with a glass of wine in her hand.
“Derek, come with me, I’d like to introduce you to... ” she trailed off when she saw Stiles. “Who’s this?” she asked, eyebrows raised.
Derek replied, “Jennifer, this is Stiles. We both grew up in Beacon Hills and our mothers used to be good friends before Stiles’ mother passed away.”
Jennifer stuck her hand out with a smile and Stiles shook it.
“I’m Derek’s partner,” she said and Derek coughed. “Law partner,” she elaborated. She slipped her arm through Derek’s and pulled him away, tossing a “Nice to meet you, Stiles.” over her shoulder. Stiles shook his head and blinked.
That was surreal.
Stiles was getting frustrated. After his bizarre Derek encounter, he had started looking for Peter, but hadn’t been able to find him. He hid himself in a corner of the room and brooded, wondering how dejected he was looking right now. He leaned against the wall and closed his eyes, letting the white noise of conversation wash over him. He almost jumped out of his skin when a silky voice whispered in his ear,
“Turning in already? I was hoping for a more interesting night.”
Stiles opened his eyes and grinned at Peter, who was leaning against the wall, dressed simply in slacks and a nice jacket.
“Where have you been?” Stiles asked.
“Doing my duty, kissing the asses that need it the most,” Peter replied, looking unimpressed with the whole thing.
“I’m sure you did it perfectly,” Stiles said, and Peter preened. His eyes wandered over Stiles’ right shoulder before they widened imperceptibly and his jaw tightened, the blood draining from his face. Stiles looked back over his own shoulder and saw Derek, face red with what looked like anger. He turned back to Peter, wondering what the hell, and Peter shook the expression off his face.
“What do you say we get out of here, Stilinski,” he said, jerking his head towards the door.
“That’s the best thing I’ve heard all night,” Stiles replied and let Peter lead him to the door.
Peter had taken him to a small hole in the wall coffee shop, insisting that they made the best cheesecake in the city. Stiles had taken one bite before letting out what he hoped wasn’t too much of a pornagraphic moan. Judging by the way Peter seemed unable to look at anything but Stiles’ mouth, he thinks he maybe wasn’t successful.
“So, why did you look so uncomfortable when Derek saw you?” Stiles asked.
Good fucking job, Stilinski. A sledgehammer would be less blunt.
But Peter seemed to take it in stride and he merely shrugged, “Family history. And may I ask how you know my scowl-faced nephew?”
Stiles felt his jaw drop. “You’re Derek’s uncle?”
Peter nodded and took another bite of his cheesecake. “I was a Hale in another life.” Stiles couldn’t tell if he sounded sad or not about that.
“Then you must have known my mother,” Stiles said. “Claudia?”
“Don’t tell me you’re Claudia’s rugrat? What a small world this is,” Peter mused. “And I suddenly feel so very decrepit.”
Stiles laughed and rubbed Peter’s arm. “Honestly, I don’t remember much about your family. Dad says we lost touch after Mom died, and I only would have been five.” He paused and tentatively asked, “What happened?”
Peter sighed. “Let’s just say... I made some mistakes in my youth. Too much drink and not enough sensibility. Talia wanted to help get me back on track, but Derek never forgave my transgressions. He convinced his mother to cut me off from the family.” He looked up at Stiles. “So I took my mother’s maiden name for myself, and started my life over, on my own.”
Stiles felt his stomach roil. “So I guess blood isn’t thicker than water?” He shook his head. “I knew Derek was a douche, but that’s so low!”
Peter waved his hand. “Well, fuck him then. He can be miserable on his own. As for me, I’d very much like to take you home now.”
Stiles flushed and felt the blood heating his cheeks. “I could be persuaded.”
“Good,” Peter murmured and wiped a spare bit of chocolate off the corner of Stiles’ mouth.
Stiles whimpered as Peter’s lips trailed over the skin on his neck. Peter shifted his body closer and pressed Stiles even harder against the door of his apartment. Stiles spread his legs easily for Peter to slot himself into.
The walk to Peter’s apartment had taken way too long for Stiles’ liking, excitement and nerves bubbling just beneath the surface of his skin. Months of repressed desire had coalesced into a burning coal in Stiles’ brain and he was so ready to let it burst into flames.
He threaded his fingers through Peter’s hair and tugged his face back so he could kiss him again, reveling in the feel of stubble scraping his cheek. Peter’s hand slid around the back of Stiles’ neck and he swung them around so they were stumbling in the direction of the large sectional that dominated the living room. He broke the kiss and shoved Stiles’ backwards, tumbling him onto the cushion.
Stiles bit his lip as Peter dropped to his knees between Stiles’ splayed legs and traced his fingers along the waistband of his pants. Stiles nodded and Peter deftly undid his belt, opening his pants. He suddenly froze, staring. Stiles looked down and his stomach plummeted to his feet.
OH MY FUCKING GOD KILL ME NOW. Better yet, kill Danny.
Peter looked at the purple satin, distended and damp from the shape of Stiles’ dick, which had been steadily leaking.
“It’s a long story,” Stiles mumbled, and Peter looked up to meet his eyes, his gaze heated.
“You’ll have to tell me about it,” Peter said, “but for now, I want to see you stretched out my bed wearing nothing but these.”
Stiles gulped and Peter stood up, bending to put his lips to Stiles’ ear, where he whispered, “I’m going to ruin you.”
Oh, fuck yes.
“Peter?” Stiles said, enjoying the pleasant ache of his body. He heard a vague, “Mmm?” from behind him, where Peter was still plastered along his back, sweat sticking them together.
“I was wondering if you’d like to do something next weekend?”
Peter peeled himself off of Stiles and flopped down on the other side of the bed. “What, you mean Valentine’s Day?”
Stiles rolled over onto his back and stared at the ceiling. “I was just curious. We don’t have to.”
“I actually have to work all weekend,” Peter replied and Stiles told himself he wasn’t disappointed.
Peter looked over and saw the expression on Stiles’ face. He pulled Stiles so they were lying on their sides, facing each other.
“I knew I’d have to work, so I was planning on asking if you’d like to spend the following weekend together. Find some schmaltzy bed and breakfast...spend the weekend in the bed...”
Stiles grinned and pulled Peter close for a kiss. “I’d love to, but that Sunday I’m supposed to go to my parents for a barbecue. I think Dad’s determined to be overly optimistic in the arrival of spring.”
Peter pursed his lips. “So we’ll find someplace close, and you can meet up with your family after.”
Stiles felt a rush of happiness, and he found himself grinning like an idiot. “You’ve got a deal.”
“Dad, I’ll be there, I promise,” Stiles spoke into the phone.
“You’d better, I’m making my world-famous potato salad.”
“Ugh, Dad, warn a guy. I just experienced saliva overload.”
“So what are these big plans that weekend that you’re being so secretive about.”
“Just... plans... with a friend,” Stiles hedged.
Stiles rubbed his hand over his face. “Okay, Dad, it’s a guy I’ve been seeing.”
“You mean to tell me you’ve got a boyfriend?”
“We haven’t exactly put a label on it, but essentially, yes.”
“I’m happy for you, son. But why don’t you just bring him to the barbecue?”
“It’s a long story. But part of it... well, I heard from Melissa that the Hales could be there, and there’s some history there.”
“What do you mean, who is this guy?” John sounded supremely curious.
“I’d rather not say, right now,” Stiles said, “Just give me some time.”
“Okay, kiddo. You’re an adult and I may not like it, but I’ll treat you like one. But if this relationship keeps going, you better believe you’re bringing this guy around for dinner.”
“You know it, daddy-o,” Stiles replied before saying goodbye and hanging up the phone. He tossed the phone onto the nightstand and went out in the living room where Peter was stretched out on the sofa.
Stiles curled up on the end of the couch and pulled Peter’s feet into his lap.
“How’d it go?” Peter asked.
Stiles shrugged. “He’s curious about you, but he’s letting it go for now.” Peter grabbed Stiles’ wrist and pulled him until he was lying on top of Peter, Stiles giggling the whole way. Peter grabbed Stiles’ ass in both hands and squeezed.
“Now, where we were?” he murmured, reaching up to kiss the fluttering pulse in Stiles’ throat.
Stiles shivered and whispered, “I think we can figure it out.”
Stiles cranked the knob on the radio up, nodding his head along to the music.
“Hey, your ass is lucky I’m not busting out One Direction,” Stiles retorted and turned the music up louder. Peter reached over and turned it back down. “Hey!” Stiles
“Calm down, we’re almost there. And I would prefer to have my hearing intact so I can enjoy every noise I wring out of your later.”
Stiles threw himself dramatically against the car seat and put a hand to his chest. “How can you just say things like that, oh my god.”
“It’s a gift,” Peter shrugged. “And you’re not exactly one to tip-toe around what comes out of your mouth either.”
“Touche,” Stiles conceded.
Peter turned the car onto a gravel driveway leading up to an expansive Victorian-style house. Stiles gaped through the windshield. “Oh my god, you actually booked us a bed and breakfast!”
“And you doubted me.” Peter tsked, turning the key to kill the engine. Stiles rolled his eyes and opened the door to the car. Peter went around to the trunk and popped it open, pulling their bags out.
“I’ll get us checked in, if you want to wait here,” Peter said.
Stiles pretended to swoon and Peter swatted him on the back of the head, before giving him a peck on the cheek. He came back several minutes later with a small set of keys.
“We’re on the third floor,” he said. “Shall we?”
“After you,” Stiles said imperiously, waving his hand. Peter grabbed his bag and headed for the house, Stiles following close behind him. The entire third floor of the house had been converted into a massive bedroom, the king sized bed dominating the center of it. At the base of the stairs on the second floor, behind the locked door was a large bathroom that included a whirlpool tub and large walk-in shower. Peter and Stiles dumped their bags on the bedspread and took in their surroundings.
“Nice,” Stiles said, “just kitchsy enough to be cute, but not enough to give me hives.”
“So glad you approve, darling,” Peter said, sliding his arms around Stiles’ waist.
“Darling?” Stiles repeated, smiling a little, pleased. “Well, if there was ever a place to use pet names...”
Peter grinned and leaned in for a kiss. Stiles slid his arms around Peter’s neck and pecked him on the lips.
“I was hoping we could check out that massive tub downstairs... I’m betting we could both fit,” Stiles said coyly.
"I’d say it’s worth an attempt,” Peter agreed and swatted Stiles on the rear.
Later that night, Stiles and Peter were lying curled up in bed, Peter running his fingers up and down Stiles’ arm.
It can’t hurt to ask...just do it, Stiles.
“Peter?” Stiles asked and Peter hummed. “Are you sure you couldn’t come with me tomorrow?” Peter’s hand stopped moving and his fingers clenched a little bit on Stiles’ bicep. Stiles sighed and turned onto his back. Peter’s face was shuttered, eyes wary. “I know you have your reasons, but isn’t there any way you could just come by for a minute? I’d really love for my dad to know my boyfriend.”
“Stiles, I just don’t think it’s a good idea,” Peter said, softly.
“I know I’m probably being an idiot, it’s just that I lo---care about you a lot, and I want to let my family to be part of it.”
Peter raised his hand and traced his fingers down Stiles’ face. “I know you do. Just be patient, okay?”
“I guess,” Stiles sighed and flopped back onto the pillows, hoping he hadn’t just fucked things up.
Stiles scrunched his face against the sunlight streaming in through the large bay window in the bedroom. He rolled over to Peter’s side of the bed and encountered nothing but cold sheets. His eyes snapped open and saw the empty bed. He sat up and looked confusedly around the room. He saw the bed and breakfast stationary lying on Peter’s nightstand, the top page filled with writing.
Oh fuck, oh fuck, what did I do?
His stomach dropping to his feet, Stiles scooched over to Peter’s side and picked up the notepad, reading Peter’s tidy scrawl.
Stiles stared at the message for a long moment before he chucked the entire pad across the room. He sat on the bed, trying to keep his breathing even.
“Fuck,” he whispered, rubbing his temples with his fingers.
He swiped a hand over his face and climbed out of bed, feeling pissed off. He took the fastest shower in history and got dressed, using his cell to call for a taxi.
He just wanted to get the fuck out of there.
On the ride over to his father’s, Stiles wondered if he was over-reacting. He’d seen the hours Peter worked more than once, and it was perfectly plausible that he might have gotten called into work for some emergency.
And it wasn’t like he’d left without saying anything. A note’s pretty limp, but maybe he really didn’t want to bug me.
No matter what, after this barbecue, he was going to stop by Peter’s apartment and talk with him. He was too invested to let this just dissolve.
The taxi pulled up in front of his dad’s house and Stiles handed over the money Peter had left him. He climbed out and headed to the door, knocking quietly. His dad opened the door for him with a smile on his face that dropped off when he saw Stiles.
“What’s wrong?” John asked.
Stiles shook his head. “It’s nothing, really. It’s good to see you, Dad.” He pulled his father in for a quick hug. “So, who’s here?”
“Scott and Allison got here about half an hour ago, a couple of Melissa’s friends from work, along with their husbands, and the Hales.”
“Great.” Stiles sighed and his dad raised an eyebrow.
“Just, don’t ask,” Stiles said and his dad held his hands up. He headed towards the back of the house, calling over his shoulder,
“Drop your bag somewhere kiddo, and come get some food.”
Stiles nodded and tossed his bag towards the foyer closet, shrugging off his jacket as well. He headed towards the kitchen, following the scent of charcoal and cooking meat. Through the sliding glass doors in the kitchen, he could see bunches of people clustered around patio furniture and lawn chairs, balancing plates of food on their laps, talking and laughing.
Scott and Allison were both talking to Melissa, Scott catching his eye over her shoulder and waving. Stiles pasted what he hoped was a genuine looking smile on his face and waved back, sliding the glass door open. His dad was manning the grill, flipping burgers, and the cherry on top of the shit sundae that was his day, Derek Hale looked to be waiting for one. His back was to Stiles, but Stiles was fairly certain he recognized those shoulders.
Refusing to be cowed by the asshole nephew of his boyfriend, Stiles made his way over to the grill, grabbing a paper plate off of one of the picnic tables as he did. He cleared his throat and Derek’s head turned towards him. Derek’s eyes widened a little and he nodded in Stiles’ direction. Stiles just glared back at him.
“Oh, father of mine,” Stiles said, turning his back to Derek, “care to hook me up with a burger?” His dad raised a sardonic eyebrow and flipped a patty onto Stiles’ plate, then just looked at Stiles with an unreadable expression.
“What?” Stiles burst out.
“Just wondering if I’ll ever even get to find out this mystery boyfriend’s name,” he answered.
“Oh my god,” Stiles groaned and rubbed his hand over his face, before letting it flop back down to his side. “Fine. It’s Peter Hansen. I met him from work.”
“Peter?” John repeated. “Isn’t that your bosses’ name?” Stiles heard the disapproval in his tone and flushed with irritation.
“Maybe,” Stiles replied testily, “But he’s a good guy, and we’ve got something going...” Stiles trailed off when he heard coughing from Derek, who had disbelief etched on every line of his face. “You got a problem, Hale?”
Derek cleared his throat and answered matter-of-factly, “There is no universe where Peter is a good guy. Or good for you.”
Stiles’ dad flicked his eyes between Derek and Stiles like he was watching a tennis match. Stiles squared his jaw and shot back with, “I’m sure he’d say something similar about you. After the way you treated him?” Derek’s brow wrinkled in consternation and he opened his mouth, but John cut him off.
“If you boys really want to talk about this, can you do it somewhere besides my backyard, where there’s an audience?”
Stiles raised a hand and said, “I don’t need to talk about this. Can’t speak for Hale here, but I’m going to find Scott.” He wheeled and marched away, leaving Derek in his wake.
Scott waved him over, patting an empty chair next to him and Allison. Stiles dropped into his, huffing an enormous sigh and looking down at his plate, when he realized he’d forgotten to get anything besides his burger meat.
“Are you okay, Stiles?” Allison asked, sounding concerned.
“Just...Derek! God, what an asshole!” he burst out.
Melissa slapped the back of his head lightly, “Watch the language, Stiles; there’s kids running around.” She got up from her chair and headed towards his dad.
Stiles rubbed the back of his head and mumbled, “sorry”, as she walked off. He dropped his hand back to his lap and gritted out from between his teeth, “He just... pissed me off.”
“How?” Scott asked.
Stiles wondered how he could explain his possible relationship fuck up and Derek’s involvement without whining too much and decided there was nothing for it.
“Just. Never mind. I don’t want to talk about it.”
Scott slung an arm over Stiles’ shoulder and squeezed. Stiles leaned into his best friend, grateful for his presence
Allison watched them for a moment before straightening up and asking eagerly, “So how’s our Christmas present working out?”
Stiles snorted a laugh through his nose. “Oh, fabulous. It’s been so helpful, you have no idea.” Scott pinched his arm and he squawked a protest. “Fine! Honestly, it’s kind of nice to write things down. It helps me keep things straight.” Allison beamed, clapping her hands.
“I told you!” Allison poked Scott in ribs and he jerked.
“Gah, fine, you’re always right!” Scott conceded.
“As she should be,” Stiles said mock-indignantly, before reaching over and giving Allison a high-five. Behind her, he saw Derek standing with that law partner of his...Jennifer something. Derek’s eyes kept shifting towards the three of them, but when he saw Stiles looking back, his mouth tightened and he turned back to Jennifer.
“So, Stiles, do you want to hitch a ride back to the city with us tonight?” Allison asked, jogging Stiles’ attention back, before taking a bite of her burger.
Stiles shook his head. “Thanks, but I’m just gonna call a taxi. I have something I need to take care of.”
No matter how much it freaks me out.
Stiles stood outside of Peter’s apartment building, shifting from foot to foot. He lifted his hand and held his finger out, hovering over Peter’s buzzer.
C’mon Stilinski, nut up!
He huffed and pressed the button down. There was a long silence before he heard Peter’s smooth voice through the speaker, “..yes?”
“It’s me,” Stiles said simply. There was another interminable pause.
“Stiles... come on up.” Stiles heard the door lock click and grabbed the handle. He stepped inside the lobby and beelined for the elevator. He felt his heart start to speed up and tried to take deep breaths. He didn’t want to blow up on Peter the second he opened his door. Stiles rode the elevator to the fourth floor, jittering with energy. When he stepped out, he saw Peter waiting in the open doorway of his apartment, a contrite look on his face.
“What the hell, Peter?” Stiles found himself blurting out and Peter winced. “I wake up and just find a note from you. What is that about?”
Peter put his hands on Stiles’ shoulder and ran them up and down his arms. “It was wrong of me, I know. But there were things I just had to take care of in town that couldn’t wait.”
Stiles shook his head and shrugged out of Peter’s grasp. He took a deep breath and asked, “Does this have to do with what I talked about last night?”
Peter grabbed his hands and squeezed them. “Of course not, don’t think that.”
Stiles huffed out a disbelieving laugh and Peter cupped one of his hands over Stiles’ cheek. “Stilinski, believe me, it wasn’t about what you said.” Stiles took a deep breath and nodded, putting his hand over the one Peter was resting on his face. He smiled and was relieved at the one he got back from Peter. Suddenly, he heard a crash and what sounded like a muffled curse from inside Peter’s apartment.
“Is there someone here?” Stiles asked, and Peter shrugged his shoulders.
“Not as far as I know.”
Stiles looked over his shoulder. “Didn’t you hear that?” he asked Peter and pushed past him.
“Stiles, wait!” Peter said sharply, but Stiles didn’t stop. He walked into the large living room and stopped dead facing the open doorway of Peter’s bedroom. Peter muttered a curse under his breath, as Stiles felt all the blood drain from his face.
In Peter’s bed.
Are you fucking kidding me?!
Stiles wheeled around, any accusations dying on his lips when looked at Peter.
“Stiles, this is Mariana. Mariana... Stiles.” Stiles just kept staring when he heard from behind him,
“I thought you said he was cute?”
Stiles sat on the couch in his living room, staring at the blank television. He could barely remember getting home, having left Peter’s apartment in a daze, just walking past him without any acknowledgement.
He didn’t deserve to be acknowledged. He doesn’t deserve a damn thing from me.
Stiles felt his face crumple and he scrubbed at his eyes with his fists, refusing to give in to tears. He cleared his throat and walked into his bedroom. He pulled his journal out from the cabinet on his bedside table and flipped open to the first page, looking at the first entry.
I will find someone nice and mature to have a grown-up relationship...or at least more than one date.
It had been much more than one date. It had been a relationship.
At least on my end.
If it hadn’t, he wouldn’t be hurting so much now. His stomach twisted at the thought of having to see Peter every day at work. But he supposed that was his own fault too. He was old enough and smart enough to know that getting involved with a co-worker, much less a superior was probably not the brightest move.
Any awkwardness was partially his own fault.
Stiles walked stiffly down the hall towards his desk. He had successfully avoided Danny, had so far manfully resisted throwing up all over his own shoes from nerves, and quashed the urge to just call in sick for the foreseeable future. He steeled himself and walked into the atrium, absolutely refusing to look in the direction of Peter’s office. He dropped into his chair, pulling open his desk drawer to pop his bag inside.
He lasted about fifteen minutes before his traitorous eyes glanced up and he felt like he’d been punched in the gut. That woman, Mariana, was inside Peter’s office, draped over his shoulder. He couldn’t imagine Peter would bring just anyone to the office. Was she from one of the company’s accounts?
Stiles jumped as Peter’s eyes flicked up and caught his gaze. He sneered and turned his attention to sorting out the papers on his desk.
The morning passed at a torturous crawl, made worse by the fact that he had a stack of papers that he knew he had to bring to Peter before the end of the day. Before he left for lunch he decided to just get it over with, grabbing them up and striding to Peter’s office. Peter saw him coming and tugged Mariana down to whisper into her ear.
She nodded and headed for the office door, opening it for Stiles, her gaze cool. She said nothing, but swept out of the office and past Stiles. Stiles shook his head minutely, blew out a breath and walked up to Peter’s desk, dropping the stack of paperwork and meeting Peter’s gaze.
Peter looked uncomfortable and maybe even a little ashamed, but Stiles had no sympathy whatsoever.
“So, one lover in the workplace just wasn’t enough?” Stiles asked, hoping the bitterness rising like bile in the back of his throat wasn’t overwhelmingly evident in his voice.
“Stiles,” Peter began, keeping his voice low. “I do want you to know I am sorry,” he trailed off as Stiles raised a hand to cut him off.
“I don’t want an apology, Peter,” Stiles gritted out. “I want a fucking explanation.”
Peter couldn’t seem to keep still, rearranging the small items on his desk in meaningless ways.
“Mariana is someone I used to know. We reconnected recently when her company became involved in an ad campaign we were designing and things escalated from there.”
Stiles laughed humorlessly, “I would say so.” He looked Peter dead in the eye. “So when did this... reconnecting take place?”
“About three months ago,” Peter answered.
“So... before you and I even became involved,” Stiles said, feeling crushed. “That’s just fantastic.” He paced back and forth in front of Peter’s desk before he exploded out with, “What were you doing with me then?! You let me think that we... that you... ” The rest of the sentence died in his throat and he gritted his teeth. “I think you may be one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made.”
Peter said nothing. There was nothing he could say to make a difference anyway. Stiles steadied himself and walked out of the office without looking back, dropping himself into his desk chair, trying to keep his breathing steady and even. He refused to make a scene.
And he had a lot to think about.
Before Stiles had settled into complacency at the ad agency, he had gotten his degree in web design. He was handy with computers and had a good aesthetic eye. But finding himself out of school for the first time and facing the adult world where he had to rely on only himself, he had panicked. When Danny had mentioned an opening in his office building, Stiles had jumped at the chance of steady employment. It had been easy, it paid well, and before Stiles knew it, years were passing and his degree was collecting dust. In the beginning he had tried to keep up with a portfolio with the good intentions of trying to get word out about his work, but that had fallen by the wayside too.
Stiles spent the rest of March and the better part of April organizing and reorganizing his portfolio, calling various companies around the city looking for information, beefing up his resume. In the third week of April, he finally hit upon something promising. An internship at a graphic design firm. The interview had gone well, and they had seemed impressed with his portfolio. They also had a good track record of hiring their interns right into the company, but at the very least, it would get him experience.
The thought of not being paid was terrifying, but he was determined that he wasn’t going to live life half-way anymore. He had always been frugal and as such he’d been able to squirrel away quite a bit of money over the years. He could do this.
I’m going to do this.
Peter stared down at the letter of resignation that Stiles had placed on his desk. He fingered the edges of the paper and said quietly, “Stiles.”
“Yes, Peter?” Stiles asked, his tone dripping with faux-sweetness.
“Is this really necessary? I know the last few months have been less than pleasant for you.”
“Oh, please,” Stiles huffed. “If you gave one rat’s ass about me, we wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place.” He turned and stalked out of the office. Peter slid his chair back and followed Stiles out, grabbing his elbow.
“Stiles, I’m serious, you don’t have to leave.”
Stiles yanked his arm out of Peter’s grip. “Yes, I do. Because working here means having to look at your face every day. And right now, being around you? I’d rather slather my junk in honey and sit my ass down on an ant hill.”
Peter’s mouth twisted.
Stiles gathered his things off his desk and headed for the elevator, never looking back.
Stiles hurried down the sidewalk, adjusting his tie as he walked. It was the first day of his new internship and he was determined to make a good impression and get there early. The company was located in an office building, crammed on the floor above a law office and below something that Stiles was certain was a front for secret government experiments.
Stiles pushed his way through the front doors and let out an ‘oof’ as he plowed directly into someone, sending a shower of paperwork to the lobby floor.
“Oh my god, I’m so sorry,” Stiles sputtered as he knelt down and hurriedly began picking up papers.
“Stiles?” he heard from above him. Stiles froze and tilted his head up, meeting Derek Hale’s questioning gaze.
“Derek,” Stiles replied, clearing his throat. Derek crouched down and started to help Stiles pick up the paper littering the floor.
“What are you doing here?” Derek asked, with a much kinder tone than Stiles expected.
“Uhh... it’s actually my first day. I got an internship at Keegan Design.”
Derek’s eyebrows rose. “What about your other job?”
Stiles grimaced. “Well, things there didn’t exactly work out.” He leveled his gaze at Derek, whose mouth was open a little. Derek looked down at the floor and said, “I’m sorry to hear that. But I can’t honestly say I’m that surprised.”
Stiles’ head shot up and he felt his face flush with embarrassment and shame. “Thanks for your condolences,” he said and left Derek to his papers. He thought he heard a faint, “Stiles, wait” but didn’t break his stride. He had other things to worry about besides smug know-it-alls with asshole uncles.
He punched the elevated button a little more viciously than necessary and felt a small surge of petty satisfaction when he turned around and saw Derek still trying to clean up the mess on the lobby floor.
As the weeks went by, Stiles’ luck seemed to be holding. He’d seen nary a sign of Derek (well, maybe a few times, but never at a distance closer than twenty yards, so he was counting it as a win), his new boss, Deaton, was pleased with his work, and tonight? Some much needed time with friends. With the chaos and upheaval of the last few months, there’d been a severe lack of bro time, about to be rectified.
He met Danny, Scott and ugh...Jackson...at a bar where they were planning on shooting the shit for hours to catch up. Danny was still giving Stiles some half-hearted attitude for taking off from the agency and leaving him there (but he’d also spiked Peter’s coffee with salt on more than one occasion and gleefully recounted the effects to Stiles, so he figured it was mostly for show).
“So, Stiles,” Jackson asked, after swigging his beer, “how’s the internship going?”
“You really want to know?” Stiles asked, surprised.
Jackson raised an eyebrow. “Even festering pimples get curious sometimes.”
Scott snorted his drink out his nose and Danny pounded him on the back. Stiles buried his face in his hand. “You’re never going to forget that are you?”
Jackson shook his head.
“I can’t believe Lydia told you that,” Stiles said, dropping his forehead onto the table.
Scott cleared his throat and wiped the beer drool off his own chin. “You haven’t really talked much about your new job, even to me.”
“No, it’s been great,” Stiles said, plastering a smile on his face.
“Uh oh,” Danny said, “Here comes the fake smile.”
Stiles shook his head vehemently. “No, seriously, the job itself has been great. It was the right thing to do, definitely.”
“Then what’s with the hesitation?” Jackson asked.
“It’s just...I’m working in the same building as Derek Hale,” Stiles admitted, glancing at Scott.
Scott pulled a face. “Urgh, really? That butthole?”
“Who’s Derek Hale?” Danny asked with interest.
Scott plowed ahead. “He’s this knob that my mom tried to set Stiles up with on a blind date last New Year’s. Instead, he told his mother that Stiles was an overgrown highschooler.”
Jackson snorted. “Well, he wasn’t wrong.”
Stiles shot him a glare and barked, “Watch it, asshole.” Jackson just put up his hands in a ‘telling it like it is’ gesture and Danny poked him in the ribs. “And thanks for broadcasting my humiliation, Scotty.”
“No problem-o, dude.” Scott grinned.
“Anyway,” Stiles continued, “Everytime I see this dink, he manages to radiate ‘smug asshole’ at me. I’ve been able to avoid him so far, but it blows chunks that I have to work so close to him.”
Danny and Scott both patted him on the back and even Jackson managed to dredge up a semi-sympathetic look.
“Stupid Derek Hale,” Stiles muttered, knowing he sounded petulant and not really giving a shit. He chose to ignore the giggles out of his friends after that comment, raising his hand to the waitress for another round.
Stiles sat on the park bench, enjoying the warmth of the sun on his face. He pulled the sandwich out of his lunch sack and started to unwrap it, when a shadow fell over him and he looked up, right into the eyes of Derek Hale.
“Oh, what, are you following me now?” Stiles asked, irritated that his lunch time had been encroached on.
“Stiles, I want to talk to you, but every time I get close, you take off in the other direction.”
Stiles snorted. “Yeah, well, there’s a reason for that. Can’t you get a clue?” Stiles shoved his sandwich back into his bag and got up, full prepared to storm off. Derek caught him by the wrist.
“Stiles, please, can you let me just say something?” he pleaded, and Stiles felt the fight drain out of him. He turned to face Derek and crossed his arms.
“Fine.” He raised an eyebrow. “What do you want to say?”
“First of all, that I’m sorry.” Stiles wrinkled his brow in confusion, but Derek looked sincere. “I’m sorry, for how rude I was when we first met. And for being insensitive when your relationship with Peter fell apart. You didn’t deserve any of that.” Stiles laughed humorlessly, but Derek pressed on. “You’re loud, you have so much energy I don’t know what to do with it, you’re quick to judge...”
Stiles scoffed at that. “You’re one to talk!”
Derek rubbed at his face in apparent frustration. “Ugh, this is coming out all wrong. What I wanted to let you know was...I like you.”
Stiles rolled his eyes. “Despite all that crap you listed? Right. Well, this has been surreal. See you later.”
“I mean it, Stiles.” Derek said softly, but firm, a faint blush tingeing his cheeks. “I like you. Exactly the way you are, right now.”
Stiles wrinkled his brow, feeling uncertainty roiling through his gut. He just stared at Derek, who looked back, before smiling slightly and walking away without a word.
What in the flaming hell was that?
“Scott, it’s me.”
“Stiles! What’s up, bro?”
Stiles faltered, wondering how to begin. “Something weird happened to me today.”
“Ooookay. You wanna elaborate?”
“Derek Hale found me on my lunch break. To tell me he was sorry. And that he liked me.”
Stiles heard what sounded suspiciously like Scott doing a spit take through the receiver. “Shit, Stiles, you’re lucky I didn’t have my computer in front of me!”
“Sorry, dude,” Stiles said, before bursting out, “But what the fuck, Scott, seriously!”
“What do you mean, he said he likes you?”
“He just came out and said it. That I didn’t deserve what Peter had done to me, and that he likes me.”
“Just as a person, or?”
“Well,” Stiles mused, “he did blush pretty hard when he said it...”
Scott gurgled, incoherent.
“Just what in the blue fuck am I supposed to do with this?” Stiles asked, sounding a bit desperate.
“I don’t think I’m the one who can answer that. I mean, you hate this guy, right?”
“Yeah, I hate him,” Stiles said automatically, but without real conviction.
Scott hmmm’d. “Interesting,” he said, drawing out the word.
“Oh, just fuck off,” Stiles grumbled, his cheeks filling with heat.
Not too much changed over the next few weeks. Stiles stopped making an effort to avoid Derek like the plague. Derek hadn’t talked to him again, but he did make a point to wave and smile at Stiles whenever he caught his eye. After the fourth time this happened, Stiles waved back and the grin that lit Derek’s face... well, Stiles was pretty sure that the wattage could have powered the entire building.
And I refuse in any way to consider just how adorable it was.
Getting to work that morning, Stiles walked to the elevator and punched the button. The door slid open immediately and he stepped inside, hitting the button for his floor. He heard running footsteps, and an out-of-breath, “Wait, wait!” before a hand shot in and caught the doors when they were closing. They reopened and Derek stepped into the elevator, arms loaded with papers and folders, his chest heaving with exertion and his tie askew. Stiles’ traitorous mind dove immediately into the gutter, and he beat back the mental imagery with some difficulty.
Derek straightened his tie and gave Stiles a small grin. “How are you?”
“Fine. I have a meeting with my boss today.”
“Oh?” Derek replied, looking interested. “What about?”
“Not sure,” Stiles admitted and tried not to get too freaked out.
“I’m sure it’s nothing bad,” Derek said, sounding decisive.
“I’m glad someone’s positive about it,” Stiles remarked and Derek shrugged.
"I know you’ve been working hard, putting in long hours. I’m sure that’s appreciated.”
“I hope you’re right.” The elevator stopped and Stiles stepped out.
“Have a good day, Stiles,” Derek called, shuffling his armload around to wave goodbye.
Stiles turned around and smiled gratefully. “You too, Derek.” He refused to sit and analyze the warm feeling spreading in his chest; he had to talk to Deaton. He made his way to Deaton’s office door and knocked, opening it when he heard the serene voice of his boss asking him to come in.
“You wanted to see me?” Stiles asked, poking his head around the door.
“Have a seat, Stiles,” Deaton said, seated behind his wooden desk, a large book open in front of him.
Stiles walked to the chair in front of Deaton’s desk and sat down, trying not to let his nerves get the better of him.
Deaton closed his book, and folded his hands on top of it. He looked at Stiles critically, and Stiles felt himself start to sweat.
“You’ve been doing good work, Stiles,” Deaton began and Stiles relaxed an infinitessimal amount. “But I’d like to see more.”
Stiles swallowed. “What do you have in mind?”
“Well,” Deaton went on, “you’ve been doing well with things that have been given to you. What I’m looking to see you do next, is take some initiative. Take the lead, find a client, come up with something completely on your own.”
Stiles nodded. “I can do that.”
“Good,” Deaton said. “I’m anxious to see what you can come up with on your own. You have a month to bring me something. You have a lot of potential. Don’t let me down, Mr. Stilinski.”
“Understood, sir,” Stiles said, tossing Deaton a salute, who smiled in amusement.
Stiles stared down at his feet. He was leaning against one of the large windows in the lobby and thinking furiously. He had spent almost two weeks trying to come up with something he could do to prove his initiative to his boss. He didn’t know if he was just having epic brainfreeze or he was too busy with the work he was already doing, but he sensed that Deaton was getting impatient (even if he never showed it, that man was the most stoic that Stiles had ever seen).
“Is everything alright?”
Stiles jumped at the soft question, surprised that he wasn’t surprised to see it was Derek.
“Just work stuff,” Stiles replied and Derek nodded, hefting a gym bag over his shoulder.
“I’m heading your way. Would you like some company on the walk home?” he asked.
Stiles smiled, grateful for the offer. “That’d be nice, thanks.” They started out the door and Stiles jerked his head towards Derek. “Wait a minute, how do you know where I live?”
Derek grimaced. “Mom... she sort of pounded the address into my head.”
“Riiiight,” Stiles said, flushing with embarrassment.
“Anyway, you’re on my way to the gym, so...”
“Sure, sure,” Stiles replied, making a grand ‘after you’ gesture. They walked in silence for a few moments, before Derek spoke again.
“So this ‘work stuff’. Do you mind telling me what it’s about?”
Stiles waved his hands. “Not a huge deal, but. Do you remember that meeting I had with my boss a couple weeks ago?” Derek nodded. “He wants me to ‘take initiative’, try to get myself some type of client, design something completely my own.
Derek pursed his lips. “One of the things you do is web design, right?”
“Yeah,” Stiles replied.
“I might be able to help you.”
Stiles whipped his head around. “Seriously?! What do you mean?”
“One of the senior partners...he’s been bitching for ages at how outdated our firm’s website is, that it lacks user friendliness, looks like shit.” He shot a look sideways at Stiles, who was flabbergasted. “I could talk to him about you. Maybe if you come up with something, we can present it to him together.”
“Are you kidding me? That’s perfect, Derek!” Stiles blurted, grinning like a moron. They walked another half block and got to Stiles’ apartment building. Stiles turned and looked at Derek, who shuffled his feet.
“Well, I’ll talk to my boss and find out what he’s looking for.”
“Derek, this is seriously awesome, thank you so much!”
“It’s nothing, Stiles,” Derek muttered.
“It is to me,” Stiles replied sincerely. Derek waved goodbye and Stiles waited until he was out of sight before he did a tiny happy dance on the sidewalk.
Stiles’ hands refused to stay still, fussing with his tie.
“Would you relax?” Derek whispered, “It’s going to be fine.”
“Easy for you to say,” Stiles whispered back, a touch hysterically.
“I mean it,” Derek insisted. “He’s going to be thrilled with what you did.”
Stiles gulped and nodded, shifting around in the leather chair. He and Derek were sat outside the office of one of the senior partners, ready to present the new webpage. The intercom on the secretary’s desk buzzed and they heard a gravelly voice say, “I’m ready for them.” Stiles’ stomach dropped down into his feet and Derek had to nearly drag him upright. He clasped his laptop to his chest and forced himself to walk forward. Derek pulled open the office door and ushered Stiles through it, one of his hands guiding, barely brushing Stiles’ lower back.
Derek’s boss nodded a hello to Derek. They started to talk, but Stiles could barely hear over the rushing of blood in his ears. Suddenly he noticed Derek gesturing to him, his eyebrows raised.
“Mr. Stilinski?” Derek said, waving him over. Stiles hustled to the desk and opened his laptop, bringing up the redesigned webpage.
Derek started spouting off the changes and features Stiles had added, and his boss nodded with what looked like approval. After a few minutes of looking over the page, he turned to Stiles.
“This is wonderful, Mr. Stilinski, truly.”
Stiles felt the strength flow out of his knees and he managed a shaky, “Thank you, sir.”
He and Derek exchanged a few more comments, and then it was over. Stiles managed to hold himself together until they were back in the waiting room where he burst out with semi-hysterical laughter.
Derek nudged his shoulder and said, “Told you. Now go dazzle your boss.”
Stiles carried the stack of pizza boxes into his kitchen, his mouth filling up with saliva at the smell. He teetered to the side, but managed to get them onto the counter before he dropped them. He raised his hands and did a victory dance before the top most box started to slide off. He made a frantic grab for it, but the box flew open and pizza slices hit his pants at high velocity. He hopped up and down and cursed as the nuclear temperature of the sauce burned his thighs. As he was jumping around, he heard a knock on the door and cursed even louder.
Of course they would get here EXACTLY at seven. Dammit.
He grabbed a fistful of paper towels and dabbed at the tomato sauce coating his khakis, making his way to the door.
“Okay, assholes,” Stiles said as he yanked the door open, “did you have to be so fucking prompt?” His voice died in his throat at the sight of Derek. “It’s you.” Stiles squeaked.
“I was in the neighborhood and was wondering how things went with Deaton?” Derek asked, his lips quirked in a smile as he took in Stiles’ appearance. “But I can come back later if you need me to.”
“Oh jeez, no,” Stiles said hurriedly, waving Derek inside. “I’ve got some friends coming over for my birthday.” He took a breath and blurted, “You can stay too if you’d like.”
“Really?” Derek asked, looking pleased.
“If you can make yourself useful and open the door if they get here while I’m changing this wardrobe disaster.”
“I think I can handle it,” Derek said, rolling his eyes.
When Stiles came out of the bedroom, Derek was in the process of studying the pictures of Stiles’ family and friends hanging on the wall, a glass of wine in hand.
“I hope you don’t mind if I opened it,” Derek said, picking up a second glass and holding it out to Stiles.
“No problem,” Stiles replied, taking the glass, eyes widening as his fingers brushed over Derek’s.
He stood next to Derek and sipped at his wine. He followed Derek’s line of vision and saw him looking at a picture of Stiles and Claudia.
“I remember your mother,” Derek said, breaking the silence.
“I always loved having her around. She was fun... even if she did bring a bratty little kid with her when she came.” Derek smirked over the rim of glass, eyes sparkling with humor.
“Hey!” Stiles yelped, “I resent that!”
Derek smirked again and took another sip of wine, his eyes warm. He opened his mouth, but before he could say anything else, there was more knocking on the door. Stiles held up a finger and went to answer it, getting a yelled, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” as soon as he did. He rubbed his ears and mock-cringed. Scott, Allison, Lydia, Danny and Jackson all piled in the apartment, shoving gifts at him and making tracks for the pizza. All of them froze at almost the exact same moment when they saw Derek.
“Derek?!” Scott sputtered, and the others immediately looked at the guest with varying degrees of interest. Stiles introduced everyone and Derek shook hands with each of them.
“He helped me out with some work things," Stiles said, "and I’ve invited him to stay for dinner.”
Stiles’ friends all gaped in silence until he shot them a death glare and there was a sudden resounding surge of affirmation and agreement.
After the pizza was devoured and wine and beer drunk, everyone was lounging around on whatever furniture they could find. Lydia had harnessed Derek’s attention to talk shop (she worked as a lawyer in another firm and had been thinking of jumping ship), Jackson and Danny had fallen asleep cuddling on an armchair (Stiles refused to think it was cute in any way), and Allison and Scott had been bombarding him with wedding plans. It was relaxing, and Stiles couldn’t believe how easy it felt to have Derek here with them all.
Best birthday ever.
Another knocking at the door had them looking around, curious. Stiles made a move to get it, but Scott pushed him back, insisting that birthday boys need to take it easy. Stiles rolled his eyes and flipped Scott off.
Scott scurried to the door and came back after a few seconds, his eyes as wide as saucers. Stiles felt his insides shrivel up when he saw Peter trailing behind him, a bottle of liquor in his hand.
“I didn’t realize there’d be so many people here...” Peter began, trailing off as he saw Derek, who had gone white-faced and stiff at the sight of him. Stiles scrambled to his feet and grabbed Peter’s elbow, dragging him out of the living room.
“What the hell are you doing here?” he whispered, furious.
He didn’t expect the first words out of Peter’s mouth to be, “I fucked up, Stilinski.”
“What?” Stiles asked, incredulous.
“What I did to you. It was fucking stupid. With you gone, I realized letting you go may have been the stupidest decision I’ve ever made.”
“What about Mariana?” Stiles asked, processing Peter’s words.
“Over. Gone, the second she realized she couldn’t live up to you.”
Processing processing... nope. Failure to compute.
“I don’t know what to say,” Stiles finally burst out with. Peter reached out a hand and stroked Stiles’ cheek.
“Then don’t say anything,” he replied, leaning in. Stiles felt his gut clench.
“Goodbye, Stiles,” a brisk voice jolted him out of it. Derek had his coat on and way already halfway to the door. Stiles shoved past Peter and ran to him.
“Stay, please, Derek.” Derek squeezed his lips together until they turned white.
Peter crept up behind Stiles and said, “Really, nephew. When are we going to get past this?” Derek opened his mouth, then just shook his head and stalked to the door.
“Derek!” Stiles called, but the door slamming was the only reply. Stiles shook his head and turned back to Peter. He could see everyone in the living room watching the unfolding drama and muttering to each other.
“Peter,” Stiles gritted out, “I’m only going to ask once more. Why the hell are you here right now?”
“Weren’t you listening?” Peter asked, and then looked over Stiles’ shoulder as he heard the door open.
Derek stomped back into the apartment and spit out, “All right, Peter, we’re dealing with this right now.”
Peter walked around Stiles and answered, “Fine with me.”
Derek grabbed Peter by the coat and started to drag him outside. Peter cursed and swatted at Derek’s hands as he was unceremoniously hauled out the door. Stiles” jaw hit the floor and heard the scramble as everyone in the living room shot out of their chairs and chased after Peter and Derek. The two of them were standing on the sidewalk outside the apartment building, Derek fuming and Peter looking unconcerned, hands stuffed in his pockets.
“Really, nephew, is this any way to treat your family?” Peter drawled.
Derek’s lip curled and he pulled his fist back before letting fly. Peter’s head snapped back and he fell to the ground with a curse. He rolled around, holding his nose and letting out a continuous stream of profanity. He got slowly to his feet before he launched himself at Derek. Both men started promptly trying to do as much damage to each other as possible, snarling and tearing at each other.
“We should probably stop this before someone calls the cops,” Danny said nervously, looking around.
“Or before they kill each other,” Scott added.
“That’d be a good idea,” Allison said, shoving Scott forward. Scott and Stiles grabbed hold of Peter, while Jackson and Danny went for Derek. They managed to pull the two men apart and held them still. Peter’s nose was bleeding, and Derek’s lip was fat; they were both breathing like they’d run a race.
“I think that’s enough, guys,” Scott said, one arm still locked around Peter. Both men muttered, “Enough.” And everyone relaxed their hold.
“Asshole,” Peter grunted and Derek took another swing at him, connecting solidly with his jaw and sending Peter to the pavement. He stood over Peter’s crumpled form, breathing heavily and eyes wild.
Stiles knelt down next to Peter and snapped, “What the hell is wrong with you?” at Derek.
“With me?” Derek sputtered, still looked outraged. Danny put a restraining hand on his arm and Derek jerked away, practically snarling.
“I thought you were a nice, normal guy, but this is how you deal with your own family? Maybe I was wrong.”
“Well, I’m very sorry to have misled you then,” Derek growled. He brushed off Danny and Jackson and stalked off down the street.
“Stilinski,” Peter mumbled and Stiles looked down at him. “What do you say? Can I come upstairs?”
Stiles felt a laugh bubbling in his throat. “Sorry, Peter, but you had your chance. And I’d like to think I have a little more self respect than that.” He patted a dumbstruck Peter on the shoulder, and stood up.
Just walk away Stiles, don’t look back.
Scott put his arm around Stiles’ shoulder and said, “Good decision, buddy,” before flipping Peter off with his other hand as they all made their way back inside.
Stiles jolted awake and looked around his room. He had fallen asleep mid-morning and now his mouth tasted like something had died in it. He squinted at his clock, wondering what had woken him. Maybe there was something he was supposed to be doing right about now.
Eh, who cares.
He dropped his face back into his pillow and groaned, wiggling around until he got comfortable. After about ten seconds, a large and heavy weight dropped onto his back, smashing him into his mattress.
“What the hell?” he tried to say, but it came out more wrtahell? with his face stuffed in pillow. He spat out material and looked up at Scott.
“Why are you sleeping? I knocked on your door for ten minutes.”
Stiles rolled onto his back and stared at his step-brother in confusion. “Why are you here?”
“Uh, we’re supposed to be leaving in ten minutes for Beacon Hills.”
Oh shit, it’s Thanksgiving!
Stiles shot bolt upright and scrabbled for his dresser. “Crap, all my dress clothes are so fucking wrinkled!”
“So spray some Febreze de-wrinkler on it and let’s go!” Scott said, grabbing Stiles’ overnight bag and stuffing clothes into it, “Allison’s waiting in the car.”
“I can’t believe I forgot it was Thanksgiving,” Stiles muttered.
“I know man, where’s your head at?” Scott replied, and looked upset at the look Stiles shot him. Scott immediately crossed the room and wrapped Stiles in a tight hug. Stiles gripped back, feeling tears prickling at the corners of his eyes. “I’m sorry, buddy.”
“It’s no big deal,” Stiles insisted, scrubbing at his eyes. “Now let’s hurry up before Allison gets sick of waiting and has my balls.”
Stiles was uncharacteristically silent on the drive to Beacon Hills, Scott and Allison tried again and again to draw him into conversation, without much success. When they got to their parent’s house, they were greeted with smiles and laughter. Stiles hung back, not wanting to bring down the cheerful atmosphere. He made small talk during dinner, and excused himself afterwards, claiming he had a headache.
He lay down in his childhood bed and curled up in a ball, feeling miserable. He’d had such high hopes for this year, and he felt so let down. About the only thing he felt proud of was his job.
Now if I could just get the rest of my life straightened out.
Stiles dragged himself out of bed the next morning and staggered down the stairs in search of coffee. Scott and Allison had left the night before to be with her family, both of them coming to say goodbye and give Stiles hugs, making him feel ridiculously grateful to have them in his life.
When he got into the kitchen, he saw Melissa and John were both dressed and looked ready to go out. He noticed that he had slept in until almost eleven. He held up his hand against any words and headed straight for the coffee pot, pouring himself a cup and inhaling the pungent aroma. He was in the middle of taking a sip when Melissa asked, “So, Stiles, how about you get dressed and come over to the Hale’s with us?” Stiles choked on his coffee and dribbled the hot liquid down his chin.
“What?” he sputtered.
“They’ve invited us over for lunch and a football game,” Melissa plowed on, “And I’m pretty sure Derek will be there,” she finished, eyebrows raised.
Stiles hadn’t talked to his father or Melissa about anything that had happened with Derek, so he knew he couldn’t blame her for bringing it up.
Doesn’t make it easier, though.
“Sorry, but I’m not in the mood to spend the day with that lunatic,” he responded curtly.
“You shouldn’t be so hard on him,” John spoke up, “The boy’s had things happen to him that would make anyone stand-offish.”
“Yeah, like what,” Stiles asked, curious.
“Losing his twin sister for one,” John replied. Stiles felt guilt building up in his gut; he hadn’t known about that.
“What happened?” he asked, his tone softer.
“It happened back when I was a deputy, so I don’t remember much. But she was out jogging one night and her uncle hit her with his car, and she was killed instantly.
There was speculation that he’d been drinking, but Talia insisted no charges be filed and the death was ruled accidental.”
Stiles felt like a gigantic block of ice had dropped into his stomach. Peter, it had to be. It was almost unthinkable.
Stiles felt sick when he thought of the way Peter had talked about why he wasn’t in contact with his family. Like it was nothing, ‘youthful mistakes’, isn’t that what he’d said?
And he’d thought Derek was the jerk for cutting off his family?
Oh my God, I am the world’s biggest ASSHOLE.
He had to see Derek.
“Give me ten minutes to get ready,” Stiles yelled, already running for the stairs, “I’m coming with you!”
The entire car ride to the Hale’s, Stiles felt like he was going to vibrate right out of his skin. He jittered his leg up and down repeatedly and fidgeted with his seatbelt. John and Melissa both looked curious as to why he was so nervous, but they didn’t press him for details. When they pulled their car to a stop, Stiles launched himself out of the backseat and tore up the front porch, knocking on the door.
“Stiles!” Talia exclaimed when she opened it. “How wonderful to see you!”
Stiles gave her a distracted smile, looking over her shoulder, but he couldn’t make out who was milling around inside the house. “Is Derek here?” Talia wrinkled her brow, looking amused.
“He was out back throwing a football around with his sister and some cousins, feel free to go around the house to check.”
“Thank you!” he shouted over his shoulder as he ran around the corner of the house. He saw his parents mount the porch and start talking to Talia, fairly certain he heard his name and the word ‘strange’ tossed around. He slowed his pace as he heard the sound of masculine laughter overlaying the high tinkling sound of children giggling. He came to the backyard and saw Derek, wearing jeans and another spectacularly ugly sweater, with two small children hanging off his arms as he ran up and down the backyard with them, football clutched in his large hands. He spun around and caught sight of Stiles, the laughter dying on his lips.
Stiles waved at him, unsure, and Derek gently lowered the kids to the ground. “Hey, Cora?” he called to a young woman standing near the house. “Can you watch these two hellions for me?”
“Sure thing,” Cora replied, hunching over and running towards the kids at a lope, growling and scrunching up her face. The two children shrieked with laughter and took off, Cora in hot pursuit. Derek brushed his hands on his jeans and walked over to Stiles.
“I was hoping you’d be here,” Stiles said quietly.
Derek folded his arms. “Why would that be?”
“Because I need to apologize to you,” Stiles said, hoping he sounded sincere. “My dad told me what happened with your sister... and your uncle.”
Derek’s face went white. “I didn’t ask him about it, I swear,” Stiles rushed to say, “He brought it up. And once I knew...God, Derek, I was horrified. And I needed to tell you how sorry I am. For everything.”
Derek shook his head. “You didn’t know, Stiles. And I remember how good my uncle was at getting people to like him.” He looked towards his family. “Was that all?” Stiles opened his mouth, but he couldn’t make the words come. Derek shrugged and started to walk away. Without thinking, Stiles grabbed for his hand and caught hold of it.
“Just, wait a second.” Derek looked down at their hands and Stiles immediately dropped it. He cleared his throat. “Back in the summer, you told me you liked me. Was I wrong in thinking that it was more than just as a friend?” Derek said nothing, but that tell-tale blush surged up his neck and into his face.
Encouraged, Stiles blurted out, “I know it’s probably too late by now, but I just wanted you to know that, I like you too.” Derek’s eyes widened minutely. “You’re a good man, despite everything, and if you wanted to get together sometime? Well, I’d be more than up for it.” Derek still said nothing and Stiles felt his confidence start to deflate.
“Derek? Sweetheart?” Derek sighed at the soft, female voice, and Stiles felt more uneasiness in his gut. He turned and saw Jennifer, Derek’s partner. She came around the house and saw the two of them, a sour expression on her face. “There you are; your mother’s looking for you. We’re going to start eating.” She walked up to Derek and put her arm through his, tugging with purpose. Her gaze landed on Stiles and her brow wrinkled in confusion.
“We’ve met before, haven’t we?” she asked. Stiles nodded, his throat closed up. “Stuart, right?”
“Stiles,” he whispered, finally finding his voice.
“Right,” she said, then turned back to Derek. “Come on, Der.” Derek nodded and followed Jennifer, leaving Stiles to his embarrassment and let down feelings.
After the food was eaten, Stiles excused himself to the bathroom. On his way back to the living room to watch the game, he passed Derek and Jennifer speaking to Derek’s parents. He caught the phrase, “you’ll be leaving?” and stopped just outside the kitchen door.
“Probably in about two weeks, right Derek?” Jennifer said, sweetly.
“What am I supposed to do about my baby being all the way across the country in New York?” Talia asked, cupping Derek’s cheek.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity, Talia,” Jennifer went on, putting her arm around Derek’s waist. “Derek’s lucky to be chosen to join their firm. And I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that he’s taking me with.”
“What? No! You can’t be leaving!” Stiles blurted before he could stop himself. Derek and Jennifer both whipped around, shock on their faces. Stiles felt a fierce blush coloring his cheeks.
“Do you mind?” Jennifer snapped. Stiles worked his mouth, nothing coming out, and Derek staring at him with an inscrutable look on his face.
“I’m sorry,” Stiles whispered. “I’ll just go.” He turned and fled to the living room, where he told his parents he was walking home or calling a cab, he just had to get out of there right now, before he could make an even bigger fool of himself.
Stiles sat in the middle of his living room, surrounded by gifts and mounds of wrapping paper, bows and ribbons. With nothing better to do, he had decided to get a jump on his Christmas wrapping. Never mind that he had two weeks to go. He was in the middle of wrapping up a shirt he had bought for Danny when his phone rang. He felt his heart clench the same way it had for the past few weeks, a sick, weak feeling of hope that refused to go away.
Derek’s gone. You blew it. It’s over, Stilinski.
He looked at the screen and saw that it was Scott.
“Hello?” he answered.
“Hey, buddy, how’ve you been?”
“Same shit, different day,” Stiles deadpanned and Scott sighed.
“Well, get your ass over here. Everybody’s coming over to watch sappy Christmas movies,” Scott replied.
“I don’t know, man,” Stiles said, “I’m in the middle of wrapping presents.”
Scott pulled out the big guns, “We’re watching Love Actually...”
“Damn you, Scott,” Stiles moaned dramatically, “You know I can’t resist Colin Firth in a sweater!”
“That’s what I thought,” Scott said, “Can you be over here in an hour.”
“Sure thing,” Stiles replied, in a better mood despite himself. He got showered and dressed and styled his hair half-assedly, before grabbing a coat and heading out the door. He looked down at his phone, texting Scott that he was on his way, when a shadow fell over the screen. He looked up and his jaw hit the sidewalk.
“What?” Stiles gasped,”What are you doing here?”
“Do you really need to ask?” Derek asked, the corners of his mouth turned up in a tiny smile.
“But what about New York? My dad told me you’d left!” Stiles flailed, knowing he sounded goofy.
“Well.” Derek shrugged. “I just realized that I’d left something behind that I couldn’t live without.”
Oh my God...I’m leaving my body. This is an out-of-body experience!
“Really?” Stiles squeaked. “And Jennifer?”
"There was never anything with Jennifer. At least not on my end.” Derek insisted, walking a few steps closer. “How could there be? When I already had feelings for someone else?” He leaned towards Stiles when there came a loud catcall from down the street. Stiles saw one of his neighbors giving him the thumbs up. Derek raised an eyebrow and asked, “Maybe we could take this upstairs?”
“Okay,” Stiles whispered, afraid the moment would shatter.
Stiles tipped his head back, basking in the feel of Derek’s stubble scraping across his neck. He felt his brain rapidly turning to mush and the strength go out of his knees.
I refuse to swoon here. This is finally happening, and it’s going to be fantastic. I am a mature, confident adult....who’s wearing Spiderman undies, HOLY SHITBALLS!
Stiles extricated himself out from the cage of Derek’s arms and backed away across the floor. All too clearly remembering Derek’s original opinion of him as an overgrown teenager, Stiles said, “Just give me one second, okay? Don’t go anywhere.” Derek looked non-plussed, but he smiled aggreeably enough and nodded. Stiles pointed at him and raised his eyebrows, walking backwards towards his bedroom.
Derek snorted a laugh and said, “Go, do what you have to do.” Stiles turned and sprinted into his room. He flung open his dresser and started digging through the drawer, looking for some pair of underwear that didn’t involve comic book characters or eye-searing colors. He finally found a pair of navy briefs and tore open the button on his jeans, pushing them to the floor and kicking them off. He was about to shove his underwear down when he heard the unmistakeable sound of his front door closing.
“Derek?” Stiles called tentatively. There was no reply. He crept out of the bedroom, but he couldn’t see Derek anywhere.
What the hell?
Stiles looked around, flabbergasted, and to his horror, saw a very familiar book lying open on his dining room table. He ran over to it and his fears were confirmed. His journal lay open on the table and the page Derek must have seen included some choice words Stiles had seen fit to describe him with after their first meeting. Stiles' stomach dropped to his feet as the words 'douchebag' and 'smug asshole' glared up at him from the page.
“Son of a bitch,” Stiles breathed, his heart racing. Without thinking, he flew to the apartment door and yanked it open, hauling ass down the hallway. He burst out the front door of his apartment building and looked around desperately. He barely saw what looked like Derek turning the corner at the end of the block.
Run, you asshole! Catch him!
Stiles took off, paying no heed to the rough concrete under his sock-clad feet. He pushed himself to run harder than he had in ages, his muscles screaming, but he refused to let Derek get away without an explanation. He rounded the corner and saw no sign of Derek anywhere.
“No, dammit, no!” Stiles whispered, turning in circles, willing Derek to appear. Nothing. Stiles swore and slapped his hand against the side of a building, before dropping his face into his hands.
“Stiles?” Stiles jerked his head up and there was Derek, an inscrutable expression on his face, as his eyes journeyed up and down Stiles’ body. Stiles looked down and flushed at what he had apparently decided to run out of his house in.
Who gives a fuck? Explain to him!
“Derek,” he started, his voice rough. “I am so sorry. I never meant for you to see that. Maybe that’s how I felt about you at first, but it’s so different now. I was just too stupid to see what a kind, good-hearted person you were.”
Derek just looked at Stiles in silence.
“Jesus, Derek,” Stiles moaned, “It was just a stupid journal, some weird self-improvement idea that Allison had for me, it doesn’t really mean anything.”
They looked at each other for a few interminable seconds, before Derek held up the small bag he had in his hands.
“I believe you,” he said, tone mild, “I noticed it was pretty close to full and thought you might want to start a few things over this year.” The corners of his mouth turned up in amusement.
Without even thinking about it, Stiles threw himself into Derek’s arms. The solid warmth of Derek against his front finally brought home just how cold his bare legs were and he laughed at himself. A moment later he felt he gentle press of Derek’s lips against his and he sighed, happiness swelling inside him like a balloon. Stiles wound his arms around Derek’s neck and felt his strong arms circle his waist. After a few minutes of trading kisses, Stiles pulled back and looked Derek in the eyes.
“A new year...let’s see if we can make the best of it.”
Derek smiled, his eyes crinkling up at the corners, and said, “Sounds like a plan to to me,” before leaning in for another kiss.