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heavy is a feeling i like

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Stiles could do the responsible thing and blame her insistence on getting into senior AP World History solely on academic fervor and her ability to bore easily.

And sure, that’s part of it.

Stiles is second in her class, only to Lydia Martin, and she has no problem with that, truth be told. Stiles and Lydia have a healthy rivalry going, which is a win for Stiles because the competition is one of the surefire ways that motivate her to turn in homework on time and ensure her papers are at least tangentially on topic.

That morning in early August Stiles had received a text from Lydia which said: New hot teacher. I scored the last seat in AP World History. Good luck on your GPA. xx

Lydia’s text is a swift kick in the proverbial balls to get dressed, even if it is in her most ragged jeans and tank top, to go see this new hot teacher. Lydia and Stiles don’t exactly have the same type, if Jackson Whittemore is anything to go by, so Stiles isn’t exactly nervous. Plus, she’s been up all night playing Call of Duty with Scott. She doesn’t give a shit about bras and covering her undereye bags.

What a waste of a perfect summer day to drive to school. Fucking Lydia.

Stiles drives to her hellhole of a school in her Jeep, knowing that the teachers’ preparation days have already started. She parks, finds her way into the school and down to the classroom that the old AP World History teacher had used until she had passed away last year, probably of exposure to dumbass teenagers.

Stiles taps at the door to announce her presence, when she sees a man sitting at the main desk in the room with his head bowed over a snazzy laptop. The man lifts his head at the knock, and holy fuck, Lydia has better taste than Stiles thought. This man is perfect. He looks about 25, with the world’s most perfectly sculpted stubble and biceps that make both her and her cunt want to cry.

She attempts to get her shit together and fails miserably.

The man has an unwavering glare and haughty eyebrows. “May I help you?” he asks and to Stiles it sounds like May I kill you?

Yes, please. Murder can totally be in the itinerary.

“Hi,” Stiles says, clears her throat, comes into the room and walks towards his desk. She needs alcohol. Lots of alcohol. Or something. “I hear Lydia Martin wheezled—I mean, talked her way into your AP World History class.”

The Hottest Man on Earth (that’s what Stiles is going with) smirks. “Ms. Martin was persuasive.”

Stiles feels heat flood her cheeks. She could be persuasive, too. With her tongue.

“I think you’ll find I’ll be a pain in your ass until you let me in your class, too,” Stiles says, walking forward with a smile. “I’m going to be a junior and I’ve already taken three AP classes that I’m not supposed to and managed to land As every time.” Stiles steamrolls right over what Derek is about to say. “And I know I’m a junior, but so is Lydia so that’s a moot point for this argument.” Stiles crosses her arms over her chest.

“You must be Stiles,” the Hottest Man on Earth says, and Stiles would be lying if her heart didn’t beat faster.

“My reputation precedes me,” she says with a smirk. Her palms are sweaty. Fucking sweaty. Stiles wipes them on her threadbare jeans.

Mr. Hale’s grumpy face twists into a faint smile and goddamn.

“That’s me,” she says, flailing her arms. “I’m sorry—when Lydia texted me this morning to gloat she forgot to mention your name.”

The elusive smile becomes more of a smile as he stands and holy fuck—waist, thighs, gray cardigan that looks cashmere. “Derek Hale,” he says, holding out his hand and Stiles takes a few unsteady steps forward to grasp his warm huge palm in her sweaty one.

“Nice to meet you, Derek,” she says, with a crooked smile. She waits for him to correct his first name to “Mr. Hale” but he doesn’t. He’s probably young enough that he wants to be one of his students’ peers and be known by his first name. It’s nothing to do with Stiles on a personal level.

Derek lowers himself gracefully back into him seat and puts his chin in his hand as he observes her. “I’ve heard you can be a handful,” he says. “Mr. Adams says your essays are often 10 pages over their advised maximum length and you often go off topic.”

“I get bored easily,” Stiles says, shrugging.

“You’re going to be a junior?” Derek asks.

“Yep.” Stiles smiles and drags the toe of her beat up Chucks against the floor. “Unfortunately.”

There’s silence for so long that Stiles looks up. It’s unnerving to see Derek studying her, but she holds his gaze. The number one skill at the top of Stiles’ resume is Silence Breaking, so that’s what she does.

“I’ve been reading a book about current racism in politics across the world, including the US, of course.” Stiles bit her lip, waiting for Derek to tell her that “all people matter” or that Obama was president so that couldn’t be true.

Instead, there’s a gleam in Derek’s eye. It’s a moment longer before Derek speaks. “My Master’s thesis was on the history of eugenics and racism in the south.”

“That sounds incredible,” Stiles says and smiles as a plan forms in her mind, a way to seal this deal. “Can you send it to me?” Stiles asks, already stealing a post-it and a pen from Derek’s desk to write down her email address and her phone number for good measure. She doesn’t let a chance go when she sees it and she’s not sure she’s going to get another opportunity like this. She’s a master at thinking on her feet, if she does say so herself.

Derek’s eyebrows do a squishy thing that Stiles wants to bottle up and keep. “I’m not sure that would be appropriate.”

“Fuck propriety, I always say,” Stiles says, grinning. “Look,” she says, leaning her hip against Derek’s desk and meeting his startlingly beautiful eyes in a way she hadn’t yet. “I do want to get into your class,” and your pants, she thinks, “and Lydia is the smartest person I’ve ever met. But I like reading shit we’re not allowed to in class, and I think your thesis sounds interesting. So much of academia is regurgitated bullshit, but I’d like to look into your research.” Stiles goes in for the kill: “And I’m sure I could write an essay that will expound on your thesis.” Stiles waves her hand. “Probably come up with some new ideas you hadn’t thought of.”

Derek stares at her like he’s never seen anyone quite like her (which is probably true.)

He doesn’t say anything, just grunts in a caveman type way, and Stiles feels the corner of her mouth twitching into a smile. She shoves the Post-It note at him, and Derek stares at it like he doesn’t know what to do with it.

“Fine,” she says.

Fine? What does that even mean?

“So, if you send me your thesis and I write 10 pages to expound on it—I’m not going to counter argue because I’m not a racist—”

“Stiles.”

“I’m sure I can find plenty of great sources and hack into Berkeley’s library system again with Danny’s help—”

Stiles.”

“Yes?”

“I’ll send it to you. Just send me your response in about a week.”

Stiles smiles.

“And don’t tell anyone about this. The class really is at maximum capacity,” Derek says.

“My lips are sealed,” Stiles says and mimes zipping her lips before she remembers that it makes her look like about five years old. Her hand drops like it’s stung.

“Let me know what you think,” she says, and heads towards the door on shaky legs, still feeling victorious.

She knows the vague agreement she made with Derek is dependent on her essay, but when she checks her class schedule online that night, Derek has already added her.

Her inbox remains empty so she waits.

*

She waits impatiently for two more days, which are spent with Scott, perfectly productively, playing Call of Duty. She lounges around, debating between binge watching a new show on Netflix or wasting hours of time on the internet. She manages to do both, and goes on a long internet spiral, researching eugenics, sterilization and racism in the South.

A few days later, her phone alerts her that she has a new email from derek.hale@gmail.com.