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Stiles sat behind the wheel, hands at ten and two, eyes on the man out in the intersection. His shoulders were tense and his leg was bouncing, but there was no way in hell he was removing his eyes from the Sheriff’s Deputy out there directing traffic. Nope, no way, no how. You absolutely did not want to miss your cue to go or you risked being on the receiving end of the deputy’s wrath. He snorted at himself as the old episode of Seinfeld popped into his head – the Soup Nazi screaming at someone “No soup for you!” because they weren’t paying attention. Most people at Beacon Hills Elementary knew how to play the game when you were first in line coming out of the school lot. Hands and gas foot ready, eyes on the deputy, moving quickly and promptly when he turned his gaze to you and indicated it was your turn to move. There was always a sick satisfaction of watching someone get caught not paying attention and watching the deputy lay into them with exaggerated hand movements telling them to go while he yelled at them to wake up, then shaking his head slowly as the person raised their hand in apology while quickly taking off through the intersection, but not too quickly mind you – it was, after all, a school zone. It was the feeling of knowing it wasn’t you he’d caught looking elsewhere.

So he sat there, watching the tall cop standing in the middle of the road while cars zipped past him, thumbs hooked into his olive green trousers, only waving his thumb over his shoulder when someone began to slow down, telling them to keep moving, or making a “slow down” motion if someone was moving a tad too fast. He watched as he finally stopped traffic and nodded to the crossing guard, Lily, to go ahead and let the kids cross to the other side where cars were parked waiting to pick up from there.

Stiles tensed, he knew it would be his turn after the kids finished crossing and Lily made her portly way back to the curb, her bubble gum smacking as she blew a bubble then continued to chew it like a cow chews her cud. And there we go, he thought, as the deputy turned towards him and pointed to his right, indicating Stiles was free to make his left turn. He quickly made his turn and sped off down the road towards his home, with only a look or two in his rearview mirror as he went, breath leaving in a sigh at a job well done at leaving the school correctly.

This deputy – a recent New York transplant - had started working the school’s intersection only a couple of months ago when the usual cop, Deputy Owen, had retired. Deputy Owen was an old man with a gut that was barely contained by his belt, and yet the man made arm moves like he was having a seizure. He would stand there, arms jerking madly while his mouth hung open and he heaved his bulk around. The new guy was a serious improvement, at least in terms of looking at.

While being first in line was sometimes stressful, it always gave him a chance to check out the cop. For as surly as he was out there in the intersection towards people not paying attention while driving two-ton killing machines, the man was freaking hot. Tall, dark hair and stubble and a body that was killer, even under his Sheriff’s uniform and Kevlar vest. Stiles especially liked it when it was time for the street across from him to go and he got to check out the backside of the deputy and his tight butt. Stiles thought he could probably bounce a quarter off it. He’d probably end up with his arms pretzeled up behind his back from the cop while he cried like a little girl before he could actually finish bouncing said quarter, but it was the thought that counts, right?

 

 

The next morning Stiles rolled in to the tiny parking lot, thanking the gods that a soccer mom hadn’t parked in his clearly marked spot. He grabbed his messenger bag and his massive-sized cup of Starbucks and hopped out, walking into the school and heading into the teacher’s lounge. He was earlier than usual, wanting to get into his classroom to start setting up for an upcoming project. He took another huge gulp of his coffee as he walked into the office, smiling and waving at the front office ladies who really ran the school, despite the name on the Principal’s office door. Hell, if it wasn’t for the two ladies in the front office the school would implode if it meant relying on their Principal to run it smoothly.

He made his way into the break room first, depositing his lunch into the staff fridge and then eyeing the freshly made pot of coffee. He’d slept like shit last night and was contemplating topping off his Starbucks with some of the school coffee. He took another huge gulp before shrugging and popping off the lid and pouring more of the dark brew in. He already had to pee thanks to all the coffee he’d drank on the way over so he stepped through the door into the workroom to hit the toilet. He stopped short as he noticed two things right off the bat. First, a line. There was always a freaking line for the toilet. There were seventy staff members between the teachers, aides and office staff, and two toilets. The second thing he noticed, Hot Cop leaning against the counter, legs crossed at the ankles and tapping on his phone while he waited his turn in line for the bathroom.

‘Damn’, he thought as his bladder then took that moment to spasm like crazy and he found himself two seconds away from doing the pee-pee dance. Why was he here? Why wasn’t he out in the street directing traffic for drop-off?? He realized he was standing stock still like a deer in headlights when the bathrooms opened up and the next two in line went in, forcing Hot Cop to move up towards Stiles. He glanced up briefly and, spotting Stiles standing there like an idiot, nodded his head and gave him a brief, “morning”. Stiles bolted, bladder forgotten, as he high-tailed it to his classroom. He kept his head down so no one could see his flaming cheeks as he quickly unlocked his door and threw his stuff down on his desk.

“Oh my god, what am I, five?” He asked himself. He set his coffee cup down and let out a breath as he pulled out everything he would need for the day of teaching a bunch of rambunctious first graders. Before he knew it the bell was ringing and he’d realized he’d never peed, then sighed again as he realized it’d be a solid hour and a half before he could get back to the break room. He was very much regretting all of the coffee now, even as he kept drinking. Lack of sleep combined with twenty five very active six and seven year olds would make for a long day.

 

 

Later on that day Stiles was sitting in the break room chatting with his co-workers while they ate their lunch when the door to the Principal’s office blew open and the man himself came lumbering out. There were some cringes in the break room as teachers realized he was headed their way.

“Ah man, doesn’t he know it’s our lunch break?” Someone groused while others snickered.

Bilinski!”

Stiles felt all of the air leave him as he sunk down in his seat, glaring at the other teachers who had looks of relief on their faces.

“It’s Stilinski for God’s sake,” he muttered under his breath. The man had been Principal for almost a year now, how could he not get his name right? “Yo Mr. Finstock, what’s up?” Stiles asked, a fake smile on his face.

“I want to talk to you about the upcoming carnival. We need a dunk tank and we need someone to sit in it!”

Stiles turned in his seat, one eyebrow already quirked, to look at his boss.

“Uh, ok? What does that have to do with me? I’m not part of the carnival, that’s all run by the PTA, not us.” If Bobby Finstock thought Stiles was sitting in that tank he had another thing coming. Those things were usually freezing cold. Let one of the newbie teachers sit in it.

Finstock stood in the break room, hands on his hips and his hair in its usual wild manner, his eyes looking crazed.

“For your information, they want someone –quote- ‘exciting’, to sit in there. That’s obviously not you Bilinski. Your father is the Sheriff is he not? That means you have an in. Get that walking mountain out there directing traffic to do it.”

With that the man turned on his heal and stormed back into his office, slamming the door. Stiles turned back to the table and looked at the remains of his lunch.

“Dude, what the hell was that?” Asked Scott, the P.E. teacher.

Stiles and Scott had hit it off immediately when Scott had been hired two years ago.  Scott was also a huge favorite of the kids as he’d found a way to make P.E. fun for kids who hated anything more physical than working an X-Box controller.

“I have no idea. But apparently because I’m the son of the Sheriff I’m in charge of getting someone into the tank?”

One of the fifth grade teachers, and arguably the most popular teacher on campus amongst the male population, Lydia, smirked at him.

“So are you going to go ask Deputy Derek to do it then?’ She asked it with an innocent tone of voice, but judging by the dreamy sighs of the rest of the women at the table, there was nothing innocent about it.

“I wouldn’t mind seeing him all wet,” Kira tittered. Kira taught third grade and was a sweet lady. But apparently she had eyes for the school cop as well. Lydia tried to look impervious but Stiles saw the sparkle in her eye as she daintily ate her disgusting kale salad.

Unfortunately for Stiles there was more than one person at the table who knew Deputy Derek, or ‘Hot Cop’ as Stiles liked to think of him, intimidated the hell out of Stiles. Christ, how the hell had this been thrown into his lap?

When Lydia looked at him with a “look”, Stiles knew she knew that he hadn’t answered her question. Unfortunately she was one of the ones who knew about Stiles choking anytime the cop was nearby.

“Oh uh, well no. I mean I’ll leave it up to my dad to see who’s available, and, you know, all that jazz.”

There, that was easy, right? Right.

 

 

“Jake, if I have to tell you one more time to stop putting tape in Julie’s hair you’ll lose five minutes off your recess tomorrow.”

The boy glared at Stiles as he slowly brought his arm down and took the tape off his finger. One of the things Stiles actually enjoyed about teaching was the ridiculous things he found himself saying to other human beings. He was thinking about making a book of them all. The usual things like ‘stop eating the glue’ were no brainers. There was at least one glue eater each year. Sending one of his kids to the ER last year after he stuck a Lego up his nose and the nurse couldn’t get back out was a new one for him. He had developed a pretty strong suspicion early on in his teaching career as to what he himself had been like at this age when his ADHD was going strong. Especially in Kindergarten and first grade before he’d begun taking medication to control it. He had a whole new appreciation for his teachers and dad. But he also liked to think he could better understand the kids in his class and he tried to develop ways to work with them. Jake was definitely showing signs of ADHD and Stiles had been keeping his eye on him, but there were days when nothing Stiles did would help keep the kid under control.

“All right boys and girls, free time is over. Let’s head back to our desks and pull out our science books. Remember what we were talking about yesterday?”

There were yells of various answers, some of which had nothing to do with what they had talked about, but some of the kids correctly remembered talking about whales. Stiles was walking through the chairs making sure his students were pulling out their books. He picked Jake up from where he was balancing upside down on his seat and righted him, then plunked him down butt first this time.

“OK, who remembers what the biggest whale is?”

Before he could call on those raising their hands there was a chorus of various types of whales being yelled out. Someone called out ‘Donald Trump’, which earned a side-eye from Stiles and a reprimand, before quieting everyone down.

 

 

Stiles waved away the last of his students as they left his classroom, the yard duty lady leading all his little ducklings in a line up to the pick-up area of the lot. He threw his stuff into his messenger bag, shut down his computer and overhead projector before turning off the lights and locking his door. He wanted to get out as quickly as possible as he had plans to meet up with Scott later on for dinner and he wanted to go home and shower before having to leave again. He nodded at the various students and teachers as he made his way down the walkway, saying hi to the second graders as they came out of their rooms for the day. Most of the ones he talked to had been his the previous year and they always seem to have a smile for him. It made him feel good, that he could be a positive part of their young lives.

He made his way over to his jeep and hopped in, started the engine up and pulled out of his spot and made his way out into the line waiting to make it through the intersection. He was looking forward to dinner where he and Scott could just unwind and chat and not worry about co-workers overhearing anything they happened to say. He slowly but surely inched his way up until he was third in line to cross the intersection.

Seeing Hot Cop- he really should think of him by his real name- he remembered he needed to get in touch with his dad. He eyeballed where in the rotation he was and figured he could shoot off a very quick, inconspicuous text without being seen by Deputy Derek. So he pulled his phone out, making sure to keep it tucked out of sight under the steering wheel while he shot off the text about finding a cop for the carnival. He looked up, sighing in relief that he hadn’t been caught when his phone dinged. He looked down and saw his dad had already answered.

“Sure thing kiddo. Why not use Deputy Hale? Since he’s already always at the school, he might be willing do it.”

Stiles just stared at his phone, stared at it like it was mocking him. Really dad?? Really? Of all of the deputies he had working for him, his immediate response is to suggest Hot…Deputy Derek?? He began to type a response.

“Oh hell no HOLYSHIT!” Stiles yelped as a head poked itself into the driver side window. His heart racing Stiles stared in dread at the face of Deputy Derek, his eyes covered by dark sunglasses but a feral smile on his lips.

“You want that ticket now, or later?”

Stiles swallowed hard, eyes darting around quickly as he took in several things at once. First – the empty space two car-lengths long in front of him from where the cars in line before had him had freaking made their turn. Two – the snickers on the faces of other drivers. And three – fabulous three, the cellphone in his hands, thumbs poised over the keyboard as he typed out a text responding to his dad.

Oh he was so fucking dead.

“I uhhh,” Stiles swallowed again, eyes wide as he looked at the deputy who was leaning on his window sill, watching him. “What?”

The deputy raised his glasses to rest on the top of his head, and holy shit his eyes, Stiles thought. Absolutely gorgeous and look at how they’re narrowing at me…

“I said…do you want that ticket now, or later?” The cop said it slowly, like Stiles was stupid. Stiles, for his part, just opened and shut his mouth like a fish gaping out of water. Somewhere in the back of his mind he knew all of the people he was holding up were either cursing him or laughing their asses off. Either way it seriously sucked to be him.

When Stiles failed to answer and instead felt himself turn beat red, the cop continued.

“I’m sure I don’t need to remind you that texting while driving, even when at a stop, in the state of California is illegal, do I?”

Stiles dropped his phone like it was a piece of hot coal, kicking at it madly when it of course landed right near his gas pedal.

“Uh no sir! Nope! You sure don’t!” Then because he hadn’t dug himself deep already he smiled at the cop. And judging by the thick, dark eyebrow that raised Stiles knew he probably looked high on top of everything else with a fake overeager smile plastered to his face.

“That’s your only warning. Move your vehicle, you’re holding everyone up.” And with that the deputy stood up, smacking his hand down on the sill twice as if to emphasize his words. Stiles hit the gas too hard and promptly popped the clutch, stalling the jeep.

“Oh for fuck’s sake,” he said, scrambling to restart the engine while the cop stood there, arms crossed shaking his head. Finally getting it started he took off, fake tooth smile on his face like some kind of manic mental patient and hauled ass out of the school.

 

Later that evening Stiles would thunk his head on the restaurant table as Scott laughed his ass off after telling Stiles he’d been in the car behind him the whole time and wished he’d had a bag of popcorn while he watched the whole encounter.

 

 

The next morning Stiles debated showing up late or getting to school butt ass early to avoid the deputy. He was embarrassed beyond belief, and he was dreading any ribbing from his co-workers. Realizing that going in late wasn’t an option because he’d have to arrange a sub and honestly all that B.S. just to avoid someone was juvenile, he just planned on showing up at his usual time.

He arrived and pulled into his spot and of course Hot Cop was there. It was too early for him to start directing traffic, he had about another ten minutes or so, and Stiles watched as he walked down the sidewalk towards the front gate of the school. He was being trailed by two twin kindergarten boys who were furiously asking the deputy questions, lugging their oversized backpacks that were bigger than they were. Stiles paused, leaning against the door of jeep as he watched the deputy easily answer each and every question, no matter how bizarre, with a small smile on his face. When they got to where the boys would go right towards the kindergarten rooms and the deputy left towards the office, he high-fived each boy and waved at them as they skipped off to their rooms.

Figures, he was an asshole to adults and utterly adorable to five year olds.

He squared his shoulders, gave himself a pep talk reminding himself he was an adult and could deal with the whole debacle from yesterday like an adult, and took off to the office. He swung open the door to the break room, deposited his lunch and moved into the work room. The usual line for the toilet wasn’t there, although both were being used, so he decided to pee now rather than wait. He stood there and listened as he could hear the occupants flush, then wash their hands, then the sounds of the industrial grade sandpaper the school district call paper towels being pulled out. When he heard the knob turn he moved in, grabbing the door and holding it open as the person left.

Ugh. Of course.

“Morning.”

Stiles sighed and plastered a smile on his face.

“Good morning Deputy,” he said as he quickly moved into the bathroom and tried to pull the door closed quickly, then growled to himself as the automatic closer took its sweet ass time closing the door, despite him pulling on the handle, and separating him from his embarrassment. That embarrassment wasn’t lightened any by the sound of the deputy chuckling on his way out of the work room.

And Stiles absolutely did not, in any way shape or form, peek around the door before leaving the bathroom and high tailing it to his classroom.

One part of his day, besides lunch of course, that Stiles loved was when someone else came in to teach his class something special. It meant he had forty-five minutes to catch up on emails, grading, lesson planning and any one of a hundred different things that needed doing. So he sat at his little table on the side of the room listening as the art docent taught his kids about impressionist painters and the parent volunteers moved around setting up the art supplies. In a few minutes his kids would be elbow deep in acrylic paints and having the time of their lives. They loved art day.

Stiles for his part was cutting out a bazillion little pieces of construction paper in various fall colors to prep for a small project the kids would do in a few days. Making scarecrows always seemed to be a winner in his class because once the “skeleton” of the doll was made the kids were allowed to decorate them however they saw fit. He didn’t care if they used fall colors, their scarecrows could look however they wanted. It was a fun way to channel creativity in his kids. Prepping the project was far from fun though as he cut out another scarecrow leg.

When his phone pinged he pulled it out and saw another text from his dad.

“Hey kid, just talked to Hale, he’s more than happy to do your dunk tank for you. Just let him know where and when.”

No, no, no, that won’t work Stiles thought even as images of a dripping wet deputy sprang to his mind.

“You sure there’s no one else that can do it? I’m sure Deputy Hale is probably really, really busy. What about Parrish?” He texted back.

It was only another few seconds before the response came in.

“Parrish is on vacation still. Hale jumped at the chance, said he’d love to do it.”

Well, fuck.

“Ok then daddio, thanks”

Disgusted Stiles tossed his phone down even as he looked up at the concerned murmurs of one of the parent volunteers. He scratched his hair as he looked over at Jake who was studiously painting his arms. He debated on whether to intervene for a split second before a mom came over and got him back on track. Bonus for Stiles, he thought, as he continued cutting out legs.

 

 

The school carnival was slated to go on in a few weeks, and Stiles had made sure to not only make the PTA folks arrange with Deputy Derek the details for the carnival, but had managed to stay out of his way and avoid any more embarrassing situations over the last few days. The embarrassment of getting caught in the traffic line unawares had faded and it was back to ogling the man’s fine form whenever he thought he could get away with it.

The past Saturday night had been dinner night with Scott again and three beers in Stiles found himself admitting to lusting after the cop. This would be something he deeply regretted the next morning while digging in his drawers for Tylenol for his hangover, but for whatever reason he’d decided to spill. Scott, in all his good-boy personality had told him to go for it. Stiles had just given him a look that said, “yeah right” before ordering another beer and sighing.

“Why not?” Scott had asked, digging into a plate of loaded potato skins.

Stiles just looked at him like he was stupid, then started ticking off points on his fingers. “Because man! First off he’s super hot, so miles out of my league. Second of all, someone that hot is almost assuredly already hooked up with someone, and third he’s probably straighter than a yard stick! Plus he can be kind of a dick.”

Scott nodded with each point, shoving potato skins into his mouth, waited for Stiles to finish, then chimed in again.

“He’s really not that bad, he’s pretty nice to be honest. At least the times I’ve talked to him. Why don’t you just talk to him?”

When Stiles gave him a look that was two parts betrayed for talking to the hot cop and 2 parts jealous of the fact he talked to the hot cop, Scott chimed in again. “Dude, why don’t you ask your dad if he’s married? He would know wouldn’t he?”

Stiles started to object to that but caught himself part way, quirking his lips and looking off to the side. “Actually, that might not be a bad idea, hmm…”

And so it was, as Stiles got dressed for the day, sucking down his Tylenol with water, that he contemplated the best way to glean information from his dad. He wondered if his dad knew whether the good deputy was already with someone. Surely girlfriends and wives showed up to the station periodically, right? Stiles made coffee and decided maybe it was time to visit his dad for lunch. He was working today, which meant going down to the station, but it had been a while since he’d been down there. Maybe he could pick his dad’s brain over a sandwich.

 

 

“Yo pops!”

The sheriff looked up with a surprised look. “Stiles? What are you doing here son?” He asked, his pen poised over the signature line of the report he was going over. One of many, many, reports he though glumly. This was not how he wanted to spend his Saturday afternoon. He watched as his son plopped down in the chair opposite his desk and presented the multitude of greasy looking bags as if a vendor displaying and hawking his wares.

“I thought I’d surprise you with lunch. Cheeseburgers, curly fries and some freshly made pie,” Stiles responded as he began unpacking the bags. The sheriff sat up and put his pen down. He was instantly on guard as his eyes zeroed in on the fabulous looking, and smelling, food being pulled out of the white bags. He eventually pulled his eyes away from the food in order to narrow them at his son. His son who was currently affecting an innocent air of nonchalance. Noah didn’t buy the act for a hot minute. So he sat and watched as Stiles took his time laying out the food, flattening out the napkins that had already been covered in grease and cheese and rendered absolutely useless as a cleaning item. Ketchup packets were laid out in a line, nice and neat. Noah crossed his arms and waited. The bags themselves were then neatly folded and stacked. Noah put his best cop face on. When his son placed his hands in his lap like some kind of church choir boy, the eyebrow he reserved for the two bit crooks he questioned raised ever so slightly.

Stiles finally looked up and smiled, saw his father’s posture, and dropped it. “Um, something wrong? I thought you’d be happy to have crappy food for a change.”

“Something you need to tell me son?”

The slight amount of perspiration. The bottom lip subtly being bitten. The eyelid twitch.

“What? No. Geez dad, can’t a son just bring lunch to his dad at work once in a while?”

And so they ate, Noah quietly exhilarating in the fatty calories he was sucking down like his life depended on it. Because his son might be a grown man who had been out of his house for a long time, but the little shit still managed to hound him on eating a healthy diet. He took another juicy bite of his burger and waited, knowing his son would spill eventually. He didn’t buy for a second that Stiles had just decided to buy him lunch for the hell of it.

“So, dad. Do you know if any of your deputies are gay and/or single?”

Noah choked on the burger.

 

 

When Stiles walked into staff break room the following Monday, depositing his lunch as usual, he was momentarily surprised to see the deputy standing there, arms crossed while Principal Finstock spoke to him. Stiles took his time finding just the right place in the fridge to put his sack, making sure it lined up nice and neat. And if he was trying to focus on what Finstock was saying, well, no one had to know.

“Yeah, so, you sit your huge muscle self into the tank. The little bra-kids throw balls at you and if they’re lucky they hit the target and bam – down you go. You’ll probably give all the women heart attacks when you’re all dripping. With water.” Finstock punctuated his words with hand flaps as the deputy stood there with a deadpan look on his face. Stiles, well Stiles was standing stock still as his imagination suddenly began to run away with itself with images of the deputy wet. Maybe dripping with sea water as he strode out of the ocean waves like some kind of apex predator, head shaking as water flew from his dark hair like a…

“You okay there bro?”

“HOLYMOTHEROFHADES!” Stiles yelped, jumping up and slamming against the fridge and causing the still open door to slam back then forward into him, which then caused Stiles to try and jump out of the way only to trip over his feet and go flying. Scott, the bastard, just stood there with a knowing smile on his face as he looked down at his friend who was on his butt and leaning back against his hands.

“Scott, I swear to god I am going to take that stupid whistle of yours and shove it up your…”

“Everything okay in here? Do you need help?”

Stiles closed his eyes and let out a sigh, his lips fluttering in frustration as he wished for the ground to open up and swallow him. And Scott. Scott needed swallowing as well as the big shit just stood there smiling. Not helping his best bro up, or rescuing him from his utter mortification. It was all up to him apparently. He got up, brushed his front down, then purposely moved over to the fridge to close the door before turning to face the deputy.

“Nope. No sir. No help needed here at all. Whaaaatsoever.” And because he was a glutton for punishment, or a masochist, he completed his words with flailing hand movements and a blush that probably covered his entire body.

Deputy Hale just looked at him, his hands on his hips as he looked at Stiles, then – the fucker – quirked an eyebrow at Scott as if to ask ‘what’s your take on the situation?’ He looked back to Stiles. “Okay then, you have a good day sir.”

“Roger that, ten four good buddy.” And for the love of God, Stiles shot him two finger gun salutes before turning and smacking his face into the side of the refrigerator. Scott could only drop his head before shaking it, and there was no mistaking the choked off laugh coming from the deputy this time. Stiles decided right then and there he was going to have to quit and move to a different school. Maybe in a different state.

 

 

“Dude, I have to quit. What’s the Arizona school system like?”

Stiles had his head down on the restaurant table, trying to drown his misery in ice tea. It was a work night after all. This time he had actually made sure to stay late and miss the pick-up session and waited until he was positive the deputy was gone before slinking out to his Jeep to head home before then meeting up with Scott for dinner.

“Man, why don’t you just talk to the guy, like I mentioned before?” Scott asked, stacking up the various fake sugar packets into some kind of pyramid as they waited for their meals. Stiles lifted his head just enough to give him a side-eye before sitting up all of the way.

“What the hell Scott? When do you talk to him? Are you like buddies or something? Are you cheating on me with Hot Cop?”

Scott, for his part, just gave his friend a look that said he was utterly stupid. “Don’t be so melodramatic bro. No. I’ve talked to him a few times when he’s come into the office. He’s actually a nice guy. Totally different from when he’s out there in the intersection. He must have like ‘cop mode’ and ‘normal mode’. Granted he can be a total dick when he’s in cop mode, but when he’s not he’s nice. Maybe I should tell him about you, since you obviously won’t do it.”

Stiles startled at that so hard he knocked all of the sugar packets onto the floor just as the waitress walked up with their food. She gave him a look that said she didn’t get paid enough for this kind of stuff, but Stiles gave her an apologetic grin before leaning over to pick them up. When she set down their plates and asked if they needed anything else, then left when Scott said no, Stiles pointed a finger at him.

“Don’t you dare McCall. I’ve made a big enough ass of myself in front of him. So no way no how. Besides, like I said before, he’s completely out of my league, if he’s even single and gay.” Stiles then proceeded to mope as he squirted ketchup onto his plate.

“Whatever you say man,” Scott said, taking a big bite of his burger.

 

 

“Okay, there we go. All fixed.”

Stiles crumpled up the band-aid wrapper and stuck it into his pocket before using his thumbs to make sure the bandage was sticking to the skin. Little Jessie sat there, eyes full of tears but valiantly trying not to let them spill as the scrape on her knee had been cleaned and covered. She wiped her nose with the back of her hand.

“Thank you Mr. S,” she said, her lower lip wobbling as she looked down. Stiles looked at her, his gut saying something else was wrong. Jessie was usually sent to school dressed like a little princess, but he watched her play and knew deep down she a strong tomboy streak in her. A scraped knee wasn’t something that got her down. Hell, he’d seen her scrape her knees, look at it, then jump right back up and race back onto the jungle gym. She usually had to be dragged off the playground by the aides to get it cleaned and dressed.

“Hey sweetpea, what’s wrong? You seem awfully sad today. Is everything okay?” Stiles had been squatting in front of her to clean her knee, while she sat on her bottom. She held her arms to her chest and kept looking down as she drew her knees to her chest, but Stiles didn’t miss the tears as they finally fell. When a hitching sob escaped her he began to worry.

“Jessie, what’s wrong honey? Is someone being mean to you?” His first thought was one of the boys she always wanted to play with had pushed her down, and he was already set to deal with it. But another hitching sob came from her as she looked at him and shook her head. She began to suck in breaths in between sobs, the way that young children do when really upset.

“No…Mr…S…” She tried to wipe her nose on her sleeve but by now everything was flowing and Stiles was checking pockets for a Kleenex. He usually kept clean ones in a pocket just in case, but he came up empty.

“What’s got you so sad baby? Can you tell me?”

Jessie looked at him for a second before coming completely undone.

“IMISSMYDADDY!!!!” Little Jessie was full blown crying now and Stiles’ heart broke. He’d completely forgotten the private note the school counselor had given him saying the Jessie’s parents had split up last week, and apparently the father had left. He gathered the little girl into his arms and held her as she cried for her daddy, holding her tight and trying to comfort her. He knew she was too young for words. She wouldn’t understand them at this age. All she knew was that her daddy was gone, and she missed him and wanted him back.  So he held her and let her cry, and when a passing teacher quietly came up behind her and held out a wad of Kleenex to Stiles then scurried off, Stiles smiled in thanks. When Jessie finally began to calm down, Stiles just rocked her for a moment, before pulling back. He pulled some Kleenex out and began to wipe her face off, cleaning her up as best as he could. Her poor little face was bright red and splotchy, her eyes puffy.

“Jessie, I know you miss your daddy. It must be so hard for him not to be home.” Jessie nodded, and Stiles was silently thankful that she wasn’t giving him the look some kids gave adults that said they expected the adult to “fix it” for them. He decided to try and deflect, not knowing if it would work or not. “Do you know who I miss? I miss my mommy.”

Jessie sniffed as she looked Stiles. “Your mommy left like my daddy?”

Stiles nodded, not elaborating as to why she left. “Yeah, she left a long time ago. She had to leave, but I still missed her so much.”

“Did she come back?”

Well damn, he thought, trying to think of how to get around this. He didn’t want to bring death into it and make things even worse. “Well, she wasn’t able to come back. She had to go and take care of my grandma. But, I knew she was thinking of me, and that she still loved me.” Jessie didn’t need to know his mom was ‘taking care of grandma in heaven’. “And I’m sure your dad will be back to see you as soon as he can. And I know he still loves you very much. He maybe needs to take care of some things, and then he can come see you again, okay?” Stiles had no idea if what he was saying he was good, or if he was traumatizing this little girl, but he was hoping for the best when he saw her start to calm down. “Come here sweetpea,” he said, pulling her into another hug. “Your daddy loves you so very much. And he would be sad to know you’re sad.” He gave her a squeeze before pulling her back one more time.

“Do you want to go play, or do you want to hang out in the class room and watch a cartoon with me?” He asked. There was only about fifteen minutes of recess left, but they could get through most of one of the school approved cartoons if he was quick. Jessie nodded when he mentioned the cartoon, so he smiled before wiping her face off again and standing up. He brushed off the black dress pants he was wearing and offered his hand to Jessie. She took it willingly and they walked back to the classroom, talking about who was better, Spongebob or Dora. Stiles never saw Deputy Hale leaning against the wall of the office down the walkway, eyes slightly distant as he watched Stiles’ interaction with the little girl.

 

 

One of the things Stiles hated doing on his off time was grocery shopping. It never failed to completely cement in to his brain how alone he was than when he was buying food for only one person. He tried not to dwell on it, to be honest. And most times he didn’t, but lately his obsessing over Deputy Hale was keeping that fact forefront in his day to day life. He really needed to snap out of it and move on, but it was proving hard to do, and the more he tried to not think about tall, dark and handsome, the more he, of course, thought about him.

“Guh, maybe I just need to get laid,” he muttered, tossing the box of corn flakes into his basket. He looked up at the indignant gasp he heard and saw the old lady standing there looking disapprovingly at him. He gave her a shit-eating grin and winked at her before dropping his fake smile and pushing his cart down the aisle. He couldn’t help but feel irritated at the lady. Wasn’t his fault he was irritable. A good toss in the hay would probably lighten his mood, he thought. But then that morphed into a toss in the hay with the deputy and he let out a sigh as his mind went full circle and landed smack dab back at the object of his consternation. He pushed his cart a little harder than necessary and rounded the end of the aisle and smacked into someone else’s cart.

“Shit, I’m so s…oh for the love of god, really??”

Stiles gritted his teeth in the face of the man standing before him, his own face moving from startled at being smacked into, into his typical smug grin. He may have been out of uniform but there was no mistaking the massive mountain of hotness holding on to the other cart.

“You okay there Stiles?” Derek asked quietly. When Stiles only narrowed his eyes at him, he chuckled. “You know I seem to ask you that a lot. If you’re ok that is.”

Stiles crossed his arms and grit his teeth. “Oh hardy har har Mr. I’m A Big Policeman. You must think you’re so funny.”

“Maybe not funny, but definitely more coordinated.”

Stiles narrowed his eyes and opened his mouth for a scathing retort that would probably do nothing to hide the fact that he was more embarrassed and feeling like an awkward teen in front of his school crush but stopped when he saw the good-natured glint in the deputy’s eyes, despite the smug grin.

“What are you even doing here? Don’t you live on like health bars and protein powder or something?” Stiles snarked, one hand indicating the deputy’s fit body. A fit body wearing well-worn jeans and a soft looking t-shirt that definitely showed off more hard body than the uniform did. The jeans hugged his legs in that way that said they fit perfectly without being stupidly tight, and he had wide shoulders narrowing down to trim hips. Stiles pursed his lips when he could see that the man was probably carrying more than a six pack under the soft cotton.

When he finally lifted his eyes up from Derek’s torso he took in the raised eyebrow and look of “caught you looking” on the cop’s face. Stiles could feel his ears go red as he’d been nabbed staring.

“Yep, right. OK then, good to see you again Deputy Hale, I need to. Go. Over there somewhere.”

‘Smooth’, he thought, as he pulled his cart away and promptly headed for the exit of the market, absently throwing a hand up behind him in a half-assed wave when he heard Hale call out a cheeky goodbye.

Damn, he was going to have to find a new market to shop at.

 

 

“Good morning Stiles,” came the greeting. White teeth and eyes that were practically multicolored smiled at him. Stiles glared. This was the fourth morning in a row that somehow Deputy Hale had managed to beat him into the break room, a smile and cheeky hello waiting for him. The first two times it had happened Stiles had bristled. He had convinced himself that Hale was doing it on purpose to mock him after Stiles had depressingly made it obvious he had a thing for the cop. The third time however, well Stiles wasn’t so sure. The smile, he realized, had been warm and seemed sincere but with that little bit of snark that Stiles had to admit went straight to his heart.

This time, though he glared at the cop, it was without as much heat as before.

“Deputy Hale,” he quipped as he stepped in through the doorway and made his way to the fridge. He deposited his lunch, ignoring the way the other man leaned against the counter, legs crossed at the ankles while he scraped a plastic spoon around the edges of the empty yogurt cup, scraping up what little was left. Stiles absolutely did not almost choke as Hale slowly put the entire spoon into his mouth before slowly and borderline lewdly pulled it back out, then tossed it all into the trash can next to him.

“I hope you choke on that,” Stiles muttered under his breath as he grabbed a coffee mug and filled it up, then cursing as his trembling hands gave away how much Hale’s little show had affected him and caused him to spill the hot liquid across his fingers.

“What was that?”

Stiles turned and beamed a nice, faux smile. “I said, I hope you have a great day deputy!” He pursed his lips as a pink tongue darted out across soft-looking lips before the cop stood up and tipped his Sheriff baseball cap at him.

“You have a wonderful day yourself,” Derek replied, smile back in place. Then he winked. He fucking winked at Stiles before striding out of the breakroom to head up to the intersection. Stiles let out a breath before turning around and banging his head against the cabinet in frustration. Just as he did Scott walked in, raising his eyebrows as he saw Stiles banging his head against the cabinet.

“Dude, what’s up? You still acting like an idiot around Derek?” Scott asked as he put his own lunch away, slamming the fridge door shut.

Stiles looked over, his head still up against the cabinet. “Oh my god Scottie, he freaking winked at me. What am I supposed to do with that?!”

Scott just laughed at him, slapping him on the back as he walked out. “Just ask him out already man!”

 

 

“Who is my lunch counter for today? Amelia? Okay sweeties, here’s the clipboard. You remember what to do?”

When the little girl with the pig tails nodded eagerly and jumped up from her spot on the rug she ran over to Stiles and took the proffered clipboard. While she asked each of her classmates who was ordering lunch from the cafeteria that day, Stiles took a second to check his emails. He scrolled through the typical teacher-related emails from the union, the district and various companies wanting to sell him supplies. As if, he thought. He always snorted at those emails, the ones marketed like they thought teachers had tons of disposable income to spend on pricey and trendy materials. It never failed to amuse him how out of touch those companies were, not realizing that most of his supplies were recycled from other projects or provided by parents during one of his “we desperately need” campaigns.

He looked up as Amelia finished writing in the lunch count and handed him back the board before bounding back to her seat in a swirl of pink dress. He called on his pledge leader to get everyone started on the Pledge of Allegiance and stood up with the rest of his class to recite it. His phone buzzed with an incoming text as he recited, but he pulled it out and checked it.

From: Daddio
Hey kiddo – bbq my place this Sat. 6pm. Be there or be square

 

Stiles smiled at his dad’s attempt at being hip, despite the fact that no one under the age of forty probably used that saying anymore. But he quickly replied back with an ‘OK’ and pocketed his phone just as the pledge was finished. Before the kids could get rowdy and distracted Stiles was speaking up.

“Okay everyone, well done, back to your seats and let’s pull out our spelling books.” Stiles began to circle the room, weaving in between tables to help his kids find their spelling books and making sure they were doing what they had been told to do. “Alright, turn to page 32.  The first word is ‘apple’, who thinks they know how to spell apple?”

A dozen hands went up, some of them swingy wildly in the hopes they would be called on. His usual “goody goody” kids had their hands up, but there were a couple of hesitant hands in there. Stiles picked one of them.

“Marcus, how do you think you spell ‘apple’?” He asked, standing at the white board with a red dry erase marker.

The shy boy looked nervous and spoke quietly. “Um. A. P. Um…L E?”

Stiles wrote what he said on the board. “Good! So close. You’re missing only one letter! Who knows what letter is missing?” He asked, then wrote the missing ‘p’ in when a choir of voices yelled out the answer. “Very good boys and girls, and good job Marcus.”

He turned back to his class. “Okay, next word. Who knows the correct spelling for ‘orange’?”

Again a gaggle of hands flew up into the air. Stiles was surprised to see Jake’s hand up, so he called on him. “Jake, how do you spell ‘orange’?”

Jake sat up straighter in his seat. “Boys have a penis!”

Stiles let his head hang, trying not to react despite all of the giggling currently going through the class. “Yes, yes they do Jake. But that’s not quite what I asked, was it?”

“No Mr. Stilinski.”

“Okay then, so, do you know how to spell ‘orange’?”

Jake nodded his head furiously, so Stiles waited.

“I have a ‘circa sized’ penis…”

“Right! Okay Jake, thank you, but I think that’s enough about your you know what.”

Stiles sighed as Jake began to rapidly talk about his junk and the rest of the class began to chime in with “ew” and “what’s a penis?” It was going to be another long day.

Stiles did find himself smirking to himself at the end of the day as he made his way into the office and saw Deputy Hale in the work room surrounded by the PTA president and flanked by two of her cronies. They were joined at the hip, those three. Always in their spandex running pants and $200 sneakers but with the quaffed hair and expensive manicures that said they probably didn’t actually do any running. Stiles tried to avoid them on principle, with their Botoxed faces and fake interest in your daily life. At the moment the three had Hale backed into a corner and were unabashedly flirting with him while discussing his role in the upcoming school carnival. One of them was actually tilting her head and twirling her hair around a finger, probably thinking she looked sexy despite her perpetual surprised looked from her stiff face and tweezed to hell eyebrows. When he caught Hale’s eye on his way into staff lounge he smirked, then threw him a finger gun salute when the deputy glared at him, his unease apparent even while trying to remain professional.

 

 

Stiles pulled up to Scott’s house and honked his horn, legs bouncing to the beat of the tune playing on the radio. He’d talked Scott into going over to his dad’s for the bbq since he knew Scott enjoyed his father’s company. Maybe it was because Scott’s own dad was in law enforcement, so there was a common bond there already. Who knew, but Stiles was looking forward to having dinner with his dad and his best friend and having a relaxing evening. Scott came out of his house and quickly locked up before skipping down the front steps and into the Jeep. They high fived each other once Scott was in and Stiles pulled away from the house and headed over to his childhood home.

As he turned down his old street and came up to his old house he noticed a lot of activity.

“Dude, there’s a lot of cars parked around my house. Someone must be having a party.” Scott just nodded, he was too busy singing along to the song on the radio and air drumming. Stiles swung the Jeep into the driveway next to his dad’s cruiser and parked. They hopped out and headed up to the front door. Stiles could hear music coming from the back yard, so he raised an eyebrow at Scott, who merely shrugged. He knocked twice before opening the door and walking in.

“Yo pops!” He called out but got no reply. The music was louder and he could smell the barbecue, it was already lit and it smelled like something was already cooking. “What the hell?” He thought, wondering what was going on. He made his way through the kitchen and towards the open side door. He stood on the step with both eyebrows raised. The backyard was full of people. Actually, it looked like most of the Beacon Hills Sheriff’s Department was here. And they were all drinking and talking and looking like they were having a good time. He spotted his dad manning the grill, his mouth pulled to the side as he took in the Hawaiian shirt and plaid shorts and a “Kiss the Cook” apron on, a spatula in one hand and a beer in the other as he talked animatedly with another deputy.

“Oh my god, what the hell is going on?” He looked at Scott, but the bastard had already gone in and was digging through a large tub filled with ice and pulling out two beers and giving his dad a head bump ‘hello’.

“Stiles! You made it!” His dad called out, waving him over.  Stiles walked over and gave his dad a one handed hug, gave the deputy his dad had been chatting with a ‘hey’, and took the beer Scott handed to him when he came back over. “How are you boys tonight? Glad you could make it!”

Stiles took a pull of his beer. “Yeah, dad, wouldn’t miss it. Looks like the entire station wouldn’t miss it either. What’s, uh, what’s going on?”

His dad looked up from flipping patties on the grill, then looked around as if to just now realize there was someone other than Stiles present. “Oh this? I thought it would be nice to have an informal get together for the deputies. Give them a chance to hang out and let their hair down, so to speak. I left the rookies in charge at the station,” Noah said with a chuckle. “Food should be ready shortly, so go relax and mingle. I’m sure you know everyone here.”

Stiles was about to mention the fact that when his dad had sent the text to come over, he’d failed epically to mention that it was bbq for the deputies. And he almost, almost, kept himself from quickly scanning to the area to see who had shown up. Just in case certain deputies had come over. He wasn’t sure if he was relieved or disappointed to not see Hale. So he elbowed Scott and quirked his head to indicate he should follow Stiles, and began to introduce Scott to everyone.

“And this sweet lady,” Stiles says as he wraps himself around a short, portly older lady with thick glasses complete with beaded chain, “this is Nancy. She’s in charge of the entire station. She runs a tight ship and makes sure everyone, including my dad, is doing their job correctly. The older lady laughs and swats Stiles on the arm as he hugs her like a monkey and rests his head atop hers. Stiles has a solid six inches on her in height.

“Hello Scott, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’ve heard Stiles talk about you quite a bit,” Nancy says as she finally gets Stiles to let go of her, even though he refuses to do so completely and keeps one arm hooked around hers like she’s his prom date.

Scott returns the greeting with a sincere smile. “So do you literally know everyone here?” Scott asks. Stiles had introduced every deputy in such a way to indicate that Stiles had known all of them for years. But before Stiles could answer, Nancy cut in.

“Deary, this young man was practically raised by most of these deputies.” She chuckled. “We’ve known this little scamp since he was born. Boy could we tell you some stories…”

“Okay, thank you Nancy!” Stiles blurted, patting her hand to fend her off before Nancy broke into what would probably be several embarrassing stories involving Stiles. “I used to spend a lot of time in the station after mom died. Most of these folks have looked after me in some way as a kid. Nancy here was like an honorary grandma. You don’t want to hear stories about me growing up, trust me.”

“Actually, I bet Nancy has some really good stories about what you were like as a child.”

Stiles whipped around, eyes widening while at the same time feeling the tips of his ears go pink. Deputy Hale stood there with that ever present smirk on his face and a beer in his hand, Deputy Parrish standing next to him. Parrish was looking kind of amused as well. Thankfully Jordan had only been a deputy at the station for a couple of years, so his first hand witnessing of any Stiles-related stories was pretty slim. Most of them stemmed from Stiles’ childhood.

Scott, the bastard opened his mouth. “I would love to hear some stories.”

Nancy’s mouth opened, Hale’s smiled turned .

“Nope! Nope we don’t need to hear anymore Stiles stories. You” - Stiles pointed to Hale – “Can go mingle with your coworkers! Go do…whatever it is you do…over there somewhere”. Stiles made flappy hands towards the yard, then scoffed when Hale bowed to him at the order and responded with an “as you wish”.

Stiles turned around so see Scott grinning at him and Nancy with a far-away look in her eye.

“My goodness, if I was thirty years younger I’d…”

“Oh my gawd, are you checking out his ass??” Stiles practically squeaked. His surrogate granny was scoping out the hottest deputy in the department. His hot cop. Ugh, she was old enough to be Hale’s grandmother!

Nancy simply smiled her innocent looking granny smile. A smile that evidently hid a lascivious, dirty old woman. She patted his hand and winked at him. “I wasn’t the only one scoping his ass Stiles, and you know it.”

Stiles gaped as Nancy made her way over to a group of lawn chairs and sat down to chat with some others. When he turned to his best friend for support, Scott simply raised an eyebrow at him as if to say, “are you really going to deny she’s right”?

“Stiles, go talk to him. This may be the perfect time. He’s off the clock, everyone’s just hanging out and relaxed.”

But Stiles was already shaking his head. Hale was in a group of other deputies, all of whom Stiles had known for ever. He wasn’t about to go embarrass himself in front of people he knew. Scott just sighed, patting a good-natured hand on his back. “I am going to go mingle.” Stiles waved him off. He knew he should just suck it up and go talk to Hale. But, the man was infuriating with his smug grins and his hotness. And Stiles, well – Stiles just was. He was fit and trim, but not like Hale. Who could even compete with that? Hale was miles out of his league. And Stiles still had no idea which team the man even batted for. He wore no wedding rings, which didn’t exactly prove anything. A lot of married people forwent rings. There were spouses and significant others here tonight, but none seemed to be with Hale. But again that proved nothing. Maybe his girlfriend was home sick. Or she didn’t want to come. Maybe she was a runway model beauty who happened to a rocket scientist and was in the lab creating the next spaceship that would get man to Mars in less than a year. How the hell was he supposed to compete with a Greek God who had a hot, stupidly smart girlfriend??

“Stiles, I can hear you thinking from over there.”

Stiles jumped slightly when his Dad bumped shoulders with him, then offered him a new beer. Stiles took it, but made sure to plaster a look of innocence on his face. “What? I’m not thinking. Not me.”

His dad gave him that ‘Dad’ smile, the one that says ‘I see right through you’. But to Stiles’ relief didn’t push it any further.

“So how are things at work?” His dad asked while flipping a burger onto a plate. He yelled out to the yard that the burgers were ready and to come and get them. There was a mass of movement as people began to come over, grabbing plates and utensils and then loading up their plates with burgers, salads and fruits. Stiles took a moment to make a plate for himself as his dad did the same, then went over to sit at one of the small patio tables.

He took a bite of his food, enjoying the greasy goodness.

“It’s good. Love my job man,” he said as he wiped his mouth on a napkin. “Kids are a lot of fun.”

His dad nodded along while shoveling food into his mouth.

Stiles took another bite while his dad wiped his own mouth, then looked up behind Stiles.

“Hale, take a seat. Eat.”

Stiles groaned as the deputy sat down, right next to him of course. Stiles glared in response to Hale’s knowing smile as the man set his plate down. Stiles looked at his plate of mixed salad and fruit and a mostly eaten cheeseburger.

“What, no little bunnies for dinner?” He groused, as he turned back to his own food and pointedly ignored his father’s confused look.

Hale picked his burger up to take a bite. “Naw, bunnies are too gamey.”

“Har har.”

“Does my personal fitness intimidate you?”

Stiles had a snippy remark on his tongue, ready to go when he saw the mischievous look in Hale’s eyes that said the man was messing with him.

“Not in the slightest. I tend to prefer twinks over cavemen to be honest.”

“Do you now…so I guess the looks you give me are ones of distaste?”

Stiles sputtered out something he was trying to make sound affronted, and had a feeling by the way his face burned and Hale was smirking that he was failing.

“Yes! Yes they are. You and your…your…cavemanish look are a total turn off to me. Big, oafish caveman. That’s you allright. But I’m sure the blond bimbo chicks probably go for the dumb brute look, so you’re probably never hurting for dates.”

“Well, you’re almost right. I’m not much into those, but I don’t hurt for dates either.”

“Those what, blondes or bimbos?”

“Both. I like my men scrawny and sassy.”

Sheriff Stilinski felt like his eyes were playing a game of ping pong as they bounced between the two men across from them engaging in what could only be some weird form of modern day flirting. He watched as his son choked on the last words spoken while Hale chuckled to himself. He slowly picked up his plate, a piece of watermelon sticking out of his mouth as he quietly and as stealthy as possible left the table and left the bizarre mating dance behind him.

 

“Are you calling me scrawny??” Stiles yelped indignantly.

Hale raised an eyebrow. “Who says I’m talking about you? Little full of yourself aren’t you?”

Stiles began to sputter then, trying to backpedal, but he saw the glint in Hale’s eye, and deep down knew he wasn’t being cruel but just egging Stiles on.

“Well no, obviously! Because I’m not scrawny! I work out! Like once a month. Maybe! You know dealing with first graders is like, a lot of work. So you know, not a lot of time here because, you know – teacher here pal.”

Hale had his arms crossed on the table, that stupid amused look still in his eye. “Mmm hmm, I bet.”

Hale looked over his shoulder when someone yelled his name, telling him to come over to them to regale the others with a story from his time as a New York cop. He turned back and grinned, pushing himself up from his seat. He paused, then leaned over a little.

“You’re cute when you’re flustered,” he said quietly, then winked.

Stiles choked on nothing but air as he watched the deputy walk off to the other men.

 

 

A Month Later…

 

Stiles moved through the mass of kids on the blacktop. Most were screaming in glee as they played the carnival games trying to win the cheapy prizes. Scott walked next to him, high fiving kids as he passed by. The entire black top was awash in carnival games, food booths and craft tables. The entire school population had come out with their parents to play and eat and have fun. It was the perfect day for it too, nice and warm, the sky a bright cerulean blue.

There were shouts of glee and disappointment as the music for the cake walk ended and a winner was declared, the child racing over to the table of baked goods and eagerly scanning for the perfect cake to claim.

There was a trio of girls glamming it up in the photo booth, and a harried looking mom covered from head to toe in pink spun sugar as she tried to make cotton candy fast enough to keep up with the kids inhaling it.

There was a big crowd off to the side though, and Stiles meandered his way over. There were kids standing in line in front of a large stand with a backdrop.

The dunk tank.

Stiles spotted Hale, standing off to the side with the principal. He held his breath as he took in the sight of the deputy wearing a grey Beacon Hills Sheriff’s Department t-shirt and board shorts. He was barefoot and damnation, even his legs were good looking, Stiles thought. Scott bumped his shoulder, indicating Hale with an eyebrow wiggle. Stiles of course scoffed, because as if he’d admit to how hot the cop look in swim trunks.

There were some cheers of “Deputy Derek!” from the assembled kids as he made his way over to the back of the tank and began to climb up onto the seat inside the little cage. Kids began to wave their tickets, wanting to be the first to hit the target and dunk their favorite deputy. Hale was all smiles as he called encouragingly to each kid that came up. It was finally a fifth grader that hit the mark, sending Hale down into the water amidst of chorus of cheers. He popped back up, shaking his head before running his hands up over his hair. Stiles stood there mesmerized at the sight, watching as the water dripped off his inky black hair, his wet shirt now clinging to every curve of muscle. He watched as Hale laughed, giving the cheering fifth grader a thumbs up for sinking him. He watched as Hale climbed back up onto the little seat then cheered on the second grader who stepped up hoping for a successful shot. After a minute Stiles locked eyes with the deputy.

“Maybe Mr. Stilinski wants a shot at me, huh?” He called out loudly.

Stiles looked startled as several pairs of eyes swiveled to where he stood with Scott in the back of the crowd. He narrowed his eyes as he realized Hale was wordlessly daring Stiles to step up. Stiles harrumphed, then turned on his heel and stalked off towards the PE shed. He ignored the good-natured “boos” being thrown at him by kids thinking he was running away.

It took a minute, but Stiles found what he was looking for. It was a little small for him, since it was geared towards kids, but it would work. He came out of the shed, closed and latched the door, then stalked over to the table where the tickets were being sold. He rummaged in his pocket before pulling out a five dollar bill.

“Five tickets please,” he said to the mom working the table, handing over the bill and then taking his row of tickets. Tickets in hand he made his way back over to the dunk tank and cut in line to stand behind the kid currently trying to throw the ball at the target while he held his hand behind his back. He could see Hale grin at him, hair dripping wet from being dunked again. Stiles resolutely ignored the plastered t-shirt that left nothing to his imagination, ignored the pebbled nipples that said the tank water was probably cold as hell. The kid threw his last ball, missing by a mile, and stomped off bummed out he’d missed.

Stiles allowed a small smile as he reached the hand with the tickets out to the ticket taker, eyes never leaving Hale.

“Whaddya think kids? Think Mr. Stilinksi can dunk me?” Hale called out. He was taunting Stiles, his eyes alit with glee as the kids around cheered him. “Think you can do it Stiles?”

Stiles quirked an eyebrow. “Five balls, please,” he told the ticket taker. There were some ‘oohs’ from the crowd as well as some interested noises from teachers coming over. It was as if somehow telepathically they knew something interesting was about to go down.

“Tell you what, Stiles. Dunk me just once and I’ll ask you out,” Hale said smugly.

Now Stiles grinned evilly. He brought his other hand out, flipping the lacrosse stick in his hand. He took a ball from the kid and tossed it up before catching it in the net and cradling it.

“Did I ever mentioned I played lacrosse in highschool?” He asked smoothly, popping the ball up out of the net and then catching. Hale quirked an eyebrow and shook his head slowly. That smug look was still on his face, but it wasn’t quite as smug as it had been a second ago.

“I ever mention I was on the varsity first line? Scored the winning shot in the state championships”?

Hale sat up a little straighter. “Can’t say that you did, no.”

“Hmm, must have slipped my mind.”

Stiles grabbed the stick with his other hand, pulled back and launched the ball hard, hitting the target with a loud clang. Hale went down with a splash, kids cheering and teachers looking amused and surprised. Scott stood there laughing before patting Stiles on the back and stepping off to the side.

Hale popped up, wiping his nose and threw a look to Stiles as if to say, ‘game on’. Stiles only smiled back before asking for his next ball.

“What do I get if I dunk you again?”

Hale laughed but squared his shoulders.

“Your pick of the restaurant”.

Stiles made a face as if finding that acceptable. He loaded up, pulled back and swung. Hale went down again. Stiles could hear everyone around him cheer again. Hale got himself back up, wiggling a finger in his ear to clear the water and let out a resigned chuckle.

“I choose Houstons. Steak dinner.”

Hale nodded. Wiped the water dripping into his eyes. Stiles quirked an eyebrow. Raised his stick.

“I want to be picked up, I want wine and dessert too.”

Hale nodded. Stiles swung. Hale went down.

Stiles waited for him to reset.

“At least three – sincere – compliments about me. Your choice what they’re about.”

Hale nodded. Stiles swung. Hale went down.

Stiles took his last ball and cradled it while he waited for Hale to pull himself back up. He popped the ball up and down out of the net, smirking.

“I want a good night kiss, on my doorstep, after dinner.” Stiles made to swing but stopped short. “With tongue.” Hale’s eyes widened as the seat dropped out from under him and he went down yet again. Stiles nodded to himself and turned, handing the stick off to Scott who was laughing so hard he was crying, and then strode out of the crowd with his head high like the cock of the block.

 

 

Derek pulled back, his lips moist and warm from Stiles’. The porch light lit Stiles from above just right to give him an almost ethereal look. He ran his thumb over Stiles’ bottom lip before reaching in for one last kiss. Stiles smiled into the kiss before pulling back.

"That was a fabulous first date. Do I have to dunk you in water to get a second one?" Stiles asked, feigning a self-confidence he didn't quite have. This date, after all, was happening because of a bet.

Derek smiled back. "Nope, no dunking needed. Definitely going to have a second date."

Stiles couldn't help the grin as he watched Derek walk down his walkway back to where his car was parked. He stood there like a love sick teenage girl, leaning up against his front door and offering a little wave when Derek turned back and winked at him before pulling open the door and sliding in. He was still standing there as he watched Derek pull out and head back down the road, already dreaming of date number two.