Derek had always had a thing for libraries.
Growing up, he had always been surrounded by two things: family and books. Between his siblings (both biological and adopted) and his numerous aunts and uncles, the Hale household was always full of people and whenever another grandparent or cousin or vague relation came by, they were bound to have a book with them and they were just as bound to leave it behind when they left. The living room had quickly turned into a library and Derek had spent a good chunk of his teenage years in there, sitting on the floor, surrounded by stacks of musty, dogeared paperbacks from airports and reference texts thicker than his arms. Hell, there'd even been a few occasions where he'd fallen asleep there, head leaning against one of the shelves, passed out with a novel or a textbook open in his lap.
(He'd tried to deny that for the longest time but then his oldest sister Laura had shown him the photographic evidence and he'd been reduced to glaring at her whenever she brought them out.)
With his love for the library at his home, it only made sense that he ended up working in the library at the university where he was doing his master's in history. Most of the time, it didn't even feel like a job; even if he did have to put up with some of the more boring duties that came with the occupation (like reshelving books and answering stupid questions from freshmen and reshelving some more books), the place felt like home. There was nothing like being surrounded by the distinctive smell of crisp paper, of flipping through the books, of having all the knowledge in the world at his fingertips.
But there were some days where the library felt more like his home; with the constant presence of the family, the Hale house had always been loud and punctuated by rapid-fire conversation and on the second Tuesday of October, the university library was much the same.
He was walking through the English Literature section of the library, carefully carrying a stack of books to be shelved in his arms, when he heard words being fired off as quick as bullets. Even though the section of the library wasn't supposed to be entirely silent, the conversation was still far too loud and so, adjusting the weight of the books in his arms, he ventured between the shelves, trying to pinpoint where the conversation was coming from. As he got closer, he realized the words weren't English; although his knack for languages wasn't as honed as he would have liked it to be, he was pretty sure that it was an Eastern European language. Polish, maybe. He exited the shelves into the common area between English and French Lit and immediately found the source of the commotion.
There were two young men sitting around one of the low tables, which was covered in pieces of lined paper and pencils, both of them firing off Polish like it was going out of style. It took Derek all of two steps before he realized that the two were twins; identical twins at that, both of them with dark brown hair that was sticking up at the front. One of them was sprawled out in his padded chair like he owned the place, legs thrown over the armrest, back arched in a way that looked downright uncomfortable. The other one, who was wearing a pair of black, thick rimmed glasses, had his legs stretched out in front of him and was staring down at the massive textbook carefully perched in his lap, not even bothering to look up when he spoke. He was incessantly twiddling a pencil between his fingers and as he sat his pile of books down on a nearby table, Derek realized that the twin without glasses was chewing on the yellow cap of a highlighter, bouncing it off of his teeth as he yelled.
“Excuse me?” Derek asked, really hoping that the two of them spoke English.
“Co chcesz?” the twin without glasses snapped. He whipped his head around and Derek noticed that he had a smattering of tiny moles along the side of his jaw, continuing down underneath the collar of his red and blue plaid shirt, which definitely clashed with the maroon jeans he was wearing.
“Stiles!” the other boy hissed, looking up from his textbook for the first time and shooting a vicious glare at his twin before he turned his gaze to Derek.
“Ignore him,” he said, smiling slightly. “He's just mad that I got a better mark is all.” There was only the slightest trace of an accent clinging to his consonants and Derek had to admit, it gave his voice a rather interesting lilt.
“He fucked his TA!” Stiles (what kind of name was that?) yelped indignantly, kicking his foot out so that his shoe just barely skimmed against his twin's arm.
“Did not,” the twin with glasses said, but as soon as Stiles looked back down as his lap, thumbing at his phone with a huff, he caught Derek's eye and winked at him and Derek did not let himself blush.
“Look, just... quiet down a bit,” he sighed, picking his stack of books back up so that he had a distraction. “Otherwise I'll have to ask you to leave.”
“Won't happen again,” the still-nameless twin said solemnly, shooting off a cockeyed salute. “Right, Stiles?”
“Odpieprz się,” Stiles muttered and Derek didn't need to know a word of Polish to know that Stiles had just said something akin to fuck off.
Admittedly, even though he could still hear them whenever he wandered near their table, the twins did quiet down substantially. When they left, Derek was back behind the front desk, checking something on the computer and when he glanced up, he made the mistake of catching the eyes of the twin with glasses. He visibly slowed his steps and even as Derek tried to rip his gaze away, he could tell that the young man was giving him the once-over, trailing from the stubble on his face to where the counter cut off the view of his legs. There was nothing subtle about the action and just before he reached the door, he winked again, the corner of his mouth furling into a smirk that looked like it promised all sorts of obscene things.
And then, they were both mercifully gone and Derek let out a breath he didn't even know he'd been holding.
Two days passed in rather uneventful fashion before Derek saw the twins again. This time, it was outside the borders of the library; he was on a break between two of his classes and was crossing campus to get lunch when he saw them sitting underneath one of the massive trees that dominated the lawn in front of the History building. Stiles (and seriously, that had to be short for something) was leaning up against the trunk, hair pulled into unruly spikes, eyes intently focused on a thin book in his hand. His twin, on the other hand, was lying with his head resting on Stiles' outstretched calves, a woolen beanie covering his eyes, textbook abandoned beside him. They both seemed completely occupied and Derek was pretty sure that he could sneak by them.
No such luck.
“You're the guy from the library!” When Derek turned back around, Stiles had dropped his book into his lap and was sitting up a little straighter. Based on his tone of voice alone, he seemed to be in a much better mood than when Derek had initially encountered them.
“Yep,” Derek said, biting back a sigh as he crossed the grass. “That's me.”
“Awesome. I just wanted to apologize for the other day. I was in a bad mood, if that wasn't obvious.”
“It was a little obvious,” Derek said and when Stiles slid over slightly (evoking a grumble from his brother), Derek sat down beside him, bracing his back against the thick tree trunk. “It's fine though. I've dealt with much worse, I assure you.”
“Alright, so we're cool then. I'm Stiles, but I think you already knew that. The dude who seems to think sleeping on me is acceptable is Stuart.”
“I don't see you trying to move me,” Stuart muttered from underneath his hat and the words had barely come out of his mouth before Stiles quickly drew his legs back up, making his twin's head smack off the grass. Stuart muttered fuck and smacked Stiles' knee before he sat up, brushing grass out of his disheveled hair and yanking his beanie down onto his head.
“What time is it?” he asked through a yawn, stretching his long arms above his head. The action made his gray t-shirt slide up his torso and hard as he tried to look away, Derek couldn't help but grab a quick glimpse at the small of Stuart's back before his shirt dropped back down.
“Just after one,” Stiles replied, stretching his legs back out.
“Shit!” Stuart sprang to his feet and scooped up his backpack, glasses knocked slightly askew. “I've got an appointment with our TA.”
“Try not to fuck him again!” Stiles yelled at his twin's rapidly retreating back but when he turned back to Derek, he was smiling slightly, a smile that was eons away from the smirk Stuart had shot Derek when he'd left the library.
“Sorry man, I didn't catch your name yet,” he said. His voice had less of an accent than his twin's but his tongue still caught a little on his r's and for a moment, Derek was too focused on that fact to remember his own name.
“Derek,” he finally managed to say, sticking his hand out. The palm that met his was soft and without callouses and Derek had no doubt that Stiles' fingers would feel fantastic dragging over his skin. He quickly shoved that thought back to the recesses of his mind and dropped his hand back into his lap, feeling tendrils of awkwardness starting to creep into the moment.
“What are you reading?” he asked, unwilling to simply leave so soon.
“It's for a history project,” Stiles said, picking it up and dropping it squarely in Derek's lap. “I'm not sure how I feel about it yet.”
“I'm a history student,” Derek said offhandedly, flipping the book over so he could read the blurb on the back. It sounded vaguely familiar, like he'd read it in first year or something.
“Really? That's awesome!” Stiles replied and based on his sheer tone of voice, it sounded like he actually meant it. “So are you in your last year or something?”
“I just started my master's in September, actually.” He gave the book back to Stiles, whose fingers were tapping out a staccato rhythm against his knees. “If you tell me what your project is about, I can probably recommend you some more books.”
Although Derek had intended to get up and get food once he'd recommended some more sources for Stiles, the conversation simply didn't end there. After he'd written down every single source Derek had given him, scrawling the titles down in spindly handwriting, they'd effortlessly moved on to other topics. Stiles talked with his hands, his fingers flying and diving through the air and by the time Derek realized that he was going to be late for class, he had discovered that there were no less than seven moles dotting the pale skin of Stiles' jaw and the column of his neck.
At least, that was on the right side. He'd have to look at the left side later.
Even though he only worked in the library three days a week, it seemed that the twins were there every single shift he worked, always managing to secure the same table in between the English and French Literature sections. When he caught glimpses of them between the shelves, they always seemed to be legitimately studying. Stiles was always sprawled out like an octopus, lanky legs flopped over the armrest of the chair, his supplies strewn across his lap and the table and the floor. Stuart was usually slightly more organized, laptop or notebook balanced on his knees but he was constantly pushing his glasses back up his face and whenever he wasn't wearing his trademark beanie, his hair was a tousled mop, sticking up in all sorts of directions.
Yet whenever Derek walked by, no matter how hard he tried to be quiet, they'd both, without fail, look up from their respective work and acknowledge him in some way. Some days, he got nothing more than a quick wave and a smile/smirk (depending on which twin he was looking at) but most of the time, they tried their absolute best to lure him into a conversation.
Usually, they succeeded, but only because Derek never really tried to resist.
It was pretty damn clear that his crush on the twins was growing more with each day that passed. Between the looks Stuart shot him when Stiles wasn't paying attention (looks that seemed taken right out of porn, not that Derek was complaining) and the goofy innuendos Stiles reeled off with a comical wiggle of his eyebrows, it was kind of impossible not to like them, even if sometimes they got in fights and started hollering at each other in the middle of the library.
After two more of those incidents, Derek made a quick internet search. The next time the twins started up (something they apparently only did on his shift, according to his co-workers), he strode across the library to their table and cleared his throat so that they'd look at him.
“Stiles, Stuart, cicho bądźcie.” Both of them shut up immediately and while Stiles' mouth was flapping soundlessly, like he'd completely forgotten how to talk, Stuart was simply staring at him, lips slightly agape, the very definition of stunned silence. After only a few moments however, his face changed into something completely different and he settled back into his chair, lips drawn back into a smirk.
“Przepraszam,” Stuart replied and although the word was completely unfamiliar, Derek was more focused on the way Stuart's tongue was just brushing against his bottom lip, making the skin gleam.
“That means I'm sorry,” Stiles said quietly and Derek could see his Adam's apple bobbing in his throat. “When did you-”
“Figured it would come in handy,” Derek interrupted, smiling slightly before he turned on his heel and took off. He could feel warmth overtaking his face, regardless of how hard he tried to suppress it. He quickly glanced back over his shoulder once, to see that the twins had started speaking again. They were leaning over the edge of their chairs, foreheads almost touching, rapidly whispering to each other and that just brought up a whole other garrison of images in Derek's brain, images that he quickly forced back out of his head.
Derek was sitting in one of the rickety plastic chairs on his balcony, head tilted back, eyes half-open. He wanted to close them all the way but every time he did that, one (or both) of the Stilinski twins came into his mind and even though they were only winking or smirking or smiling at him in these mental images, the images were still enough to make his dick harden and he really didn't want to have to deal with an erection when his adopted siblings were sitting on the balcony beside him.
“You and everyone else,” his sister Erica said and Derek could just tell from the tone that she was rolling her eyes skywards as she flicked through one of her criminology textbooks. “You wanna talk about it?”
“Not really,” Derek groaned but based on how Erica slammed her book shut with a loud thud, her words hadn't actually been a question.
“It's... a guy,” he muttered, grinding the heels of his hands into his eyes and unleashing an explosion of color behind his eyelids. “There's two of them actually.”
“You've got the hots for two guys at once?” she asked and he nodded hopelessly. “Do they like you too?” Derek thought about it for a few moments, even though his instincts screamed yes. After all, even though both of the twins seemed naturally flirtatious, Derek didn't think that he'd imagined the meaning of the heated looks Stuart had been giving him and he definitely hadn't imagined the broad smiles Stiles sent in his direction almost every time he was around.
“Yeah, pretty sure,” he sighed and if anything, that realization made the whole situation worse. Even if both of them did like him, he couldn't be with both of them at the same time and picking between them? That was an option that seemed like pure torture. No matter which one he picked, Derek knew he would have regrets.
Sure, there were worse problems he could have been facing, but it still fucking sucked.
“Just date both of them,” his younger brother Isaac said, exhaling his words through a cloud of acrid smoke. Derek wasn't much one for drugs but before his family had adopted Isaac, he'd lived in a very abusive home. Derek still didn't know most of the details of what he went through (wasn't really sure if he wanted to know, to be completely honest) and the weed seemed to lessen the frequency of the debilitating panic attacks that occasionally struck him. “Or screw them both. It's not that hard, Derek.”
“What would you know about it?” Derek snapped but before he could apologize for the undue harshness of his tone, Isaac just shrugged and exhaled another puff of smoke from his nostrils.
“I've done it before,” he said casually, brushing ashes off of his sweatshirt. “Slept with two people, I mean. At the same time.”
“They probably weren't related,” Derek muttered, expecting Erica to leap all over his words but she had already latched on to what Isaac had said, literally jumping out of her chair and sitting beside Isaac on the ratty love seat that was designated for his smoking.
“Who'd you sleep with?” she asked, fixing Isaac with an unwavering stare.
“Just some dude and his girlfriend.” Derek could see Isaac's cheeks starting to flush red and he glanced down in his lap, wiping more ash off of his jeans. There was more to the story, that much was clear and although Derek would have let it slide, Erica wasn't as easily dissuaded. She simply sat there and continued to stare at Isaac until he finally sighed and flicked the stub of his joint over the edge of the balcony.
“Fine, it was McCall and his girlfriend,” he muttered and although the names meant absolutely nothing to Derek, Erica squealed and madly started ruffling Isaac's already disheveled mop of curls.
“The captain of the lacrosse team and the captain of the archery team? I'm proud of you baby bro!”
Derek just groaned again.