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The Hazards Of Cohabitation

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Stiles was not the type of person to forget to set his alarm in the morning. He was very conscious of his early classes and the likelihood of missing them due to his love of sleeping in as much as humanly possible, so he took thorough precautions to prevent that eventuality. He could count on one hand the number of times he had forgotten to set his alarm in the entirety of his college career thus far.

Stiles was, however, the type of person to forget to turn his alarm off on days when it was not needed, hence the incessant beeping in his ear at 8:20 a.m. on a Saturday morning.

It could’ve been worse. He’d had an 8 a.m. class the previous semester that had had him waking up before dawn to make the commute from his shared apartment to campus. He also could’ve been a lot drunker last night than he had been, so really he was getting off lightly.

He’d still been decently drunk, though, and his hangover meant that it took him a solid minute and a half to make the beeping stop—he did not throw his phone off on the floor and have to go crawling after it this time, at least—and by then he was guaranteed incapable of getting back to sleep. That was a damn shame but also something he was used to on these unfortunately common early morning awakenings.

This was usually the time when he decided to be a good roommate and make enough breakfast for everyone. His friends were always much more accommodating of the grumpy moods that stuck with him well into the afternoon when they got bacon out of the deal.

Stiles dragged himself out of bed with a long groan, stretching out sore muscles and popping joints that had no right making noises like that when he was barely twenty-one, and shuffled his way out of his room. All the other doors in the short hallway were closed, so Scott and Jackson were guaranteed to still be asleep. Derek was a morning person, probably already awake and working out or something gross like that, but he rarely emerged before ten, and Danny was a wildcard, just as liable to sleep past noon as he was to still be awake from last night.

Stiles left them all alone. They’d start creeping out once they smelled coffee and bacon, probably just as hungover as he was. The club had been packed last night, full of students blowing off steam after midterms before they all had to dive back into the second half of the semester. The five of them had started out the night together, taking shots and bitching about everything they could think of, but they’d splintered off before too long.

Stiles had ended up dancing on at least one table, but he hadn’t been the only one up there. Well, he was pretty sure he hadn’t been the only one. Everything was a little fuzzy after the Jäger shots, and really fuzzy after the tequila.

It had been a good time though. It had been a while since all of them had been out as a group, busy with school and jobs and whatnot. Scott’s pre-med track was notoriously heavy, and Jackson’s pre-law wasn’t any better. They’d both had so many projects to work on in the last few weeks, Stiles had barely even seen either of them off campus. He was pretty sure he’d glimpsed Jackson pow-wowing with his project partner between classes more than anywhere else, despite literally sharing a living space with him.

Maybe they’d have more time to spend together now.

All of them, not just he and Jackson, obviously. It wasn’t like Stiles was missing Jackson’s biting wit in particular or anything, just the general camaraderie of his friends as a unit. Which happened to include Jackson. Last night had been fun with all of them there together to contribute to the convivial atmosphere and, if Stiles was remembering correctly, Jackson had actually been the one to stick with him the longest before the table-dancing had started because he was secretly a good bud like that.

Of course, if he were truly a good friend, he would’ve stopped Stiles from dancing on the table. Even just limping his way down the hall, his muscles were letting him know just how bad an idea that had been. Stiles yawned hard and stretched again, swallowing down a pathetic whine and vowing for the thousandth time to never get drunk again.

He reached the living room and closed his eyes preemptively as he flipped on the light, knowing his poor headache would not appreciate the increased brightness.

A plaintive groan sounded, but it wasn’t his. Stiles cracked his eyes back open, squinting around until they landed on the couch. The couch that was currently occupied by a shirtless dude who definitely wasn’t one of the dudes who actually lived in this apartment.

He had to have been somebody’s hookup from last night. Usually they all kept their one night stands confined to their own bedrooms, but they’d all been a little messy drunk so this wasn’t outside the realm of possibility. The real question was whose hookup it had been, because none of them were above picking up a random guy at a club when drunk and bringing him back to the apartment they shared with four other people.

It didn’t help that they all had roughly the same taste in men. The guy on the couch was blond and tan and muscular. Any one of them would’ve gone for that in a heartbeat! The guy groaned again and rolled over, blinking blearily up at the ceiling. He had sort of a too-small face for his head, but he had the kind of abs that totally made up for it. He also looked sort of...familiar.

Shit, had he been Stiles’ hookup?

No. No! He hadn’t been that drunk. He would totally remember if he’d brought somebody home with him and gotten laid. Abs like that would’ve made an impression even on a drunk Stiles, and besides, he wasn’t the type to kick his lays out of bed before the morning. Stiles liked his post-coital cuddles.

Still, he’d definitely seen this guy before. And not just at the club last night. He was totally a student, but not from any of Stiles’ classes because he wasn’t that familiar, just vaguely so.

Stiles felt like there might be smoke coming out of his ears from the gears in his brain struggling to turn this early. He was always a little slow in the morning, and the hangover wasn’t helping. Maybe he should wait until after coffee and breakfast to do this much thinking. Surely the guy would go back to sleep and—

Nope. The guy was sitting up, rubbing at his head and peering up at Stiles. Then it seemed to occur to him where he was and who he was looking at—namely, one of the people who actually lived here. He gave him an awkward smile and a wave and there! Stiles had totally seen that awkward-smile-and-wave combo before, outside the pre-law building where Jackson had most of his classes, because this was that project partner that had been taking up all of Jackson’s time lately.

Jeez, Jackson didn’t pussyfoot around, did he? They’d had their presentation like a day and a half ago! He must’ve been waiting with bated breath for their project to be over so he could screw this guy without risk to his grade. That was just… It was tacky, is what it was. Or something like that. At least, it felt tacky to Stiles.

He must’ve been making some kind of face because the awkward smile on project partner’s face slipped off slowly and the waving hand fell.

“Morning?” the guy tried.

Stiles grunted and finally made his way to the kitchen, only half blocked off from the living room proper by a breakfast bar. Sadly that meant there was no real barrier to deter further attempts at conversation. As Stiles fiddled aggressively with the coffeemaker, he could hear rustling and yawning at his back as the guy—what had Jackson said his name was, Aiden?—accepted his awakeness. It sounded like he was looking for his shirt, but Stiles refused to turn around and look.

Aiden wasn’t even that hot, certainly not hot enough for Jackson to be so quick on the draw with him. It usually took a lot to catch Jackson’s eye. He’d been the only one last night not lured away by some twink looking to dance within half an hour, after all, but maybe that was just because he’d already had someone lined up.

Stiles poured out the first cup of coffee with gratitude that was quickly overtaken by sheer, irrational irritation when Aiden rounded the breakfast bar saying, “Ooh, smells good. Can I have a shot of that?”

Stiles clutched his mug against his chest and gave Aiden the dirtiest look he could possibly muster up before actually ingesting the aforementioned coffee. Apparently Aiden wasn’t just a decent face and great abs, because he was smart enough to hold his hands up in surrender and slowly back away.

Stiles downed as much of his hot coffee as he could manage, slammed the mug down on the counter, and set about making breakfast as if the intruder wasn’t there. Maybe if he just ignored the guy long enough, he would pack up and leave. He and Jackson couldn’t be that involved, after all, if Aiden had ended up on the couch instead of staying to cuddle. Hopefully this was just a fling and he would want to avoid any morning-after awkwardness by leaving before Jackson got up.

Stiles’ hopes were dashed when Aiden started opening cabinet doors, one after the other, peering into each one and rummaging through all their shit.

“Dude,” Stiles said, distracted from his bacon-prep. “What the fuck are you doing?”

“Looking for the protein bars,” Aiden told him absently, already reaching for the next door. “Know there’s some in here. He said I could help myself last time.”

Last time.

Stiles slammed the frying pan onto the burner with a clang that probably woke up any of his roommates that had still been sleeping. He ground out, “Bottom left,” and turned the temperature knob with far more force than was necessary.

If Aiden noticed, he was wise enough not to comment. He just retrieved the box of the gross protein bars that only Jackson and Danny could stomach—seriously, even Derek wouldn’t touch them, and he was usually all about that health and fitness stuff—and helped himself. Because Jackson had told him he could. Last time.

As always, the smell of cooking bacon was enough to start dragging the others out of their bedrooms. Derek was first, sweaty and satisfied from his morning workout. Scott followed him with a huge yawn and the worst case of bedhead Stiles had ever seen. Neither of them paid Aiden any attention, Scott because he still had his eyes closed and Derek because he really just didn’t care; he might be a morning person, technically, but he was never particularly sociable no matter what time of day it was.

Stiles was so focused on not noticing Aiden and stubbornly pretending he didn’t exist that he really didn’t notice him trying to sneak around him toward the coffee. In Stiles’ startle, the hot pan full of sizzling bacon almost rerouted from the waiting plate to the kitchen floor. Stiles saved it, just barely, which was a minor miracle on its own. He was left cursing up a storm while Aiden sputtered apologies, Derek sniggered like a traitor, and Scott blinked bemusedly at them like he was just now realizing there were already people in the room.

“What is going on out here?”

Jackson appeared around the corner from the hallway, scratching at bedhead of his own but clearly more awake than Scott.

Stiles threw the now empty pan back onto the stove and jabbed a finger in Aiden’s direction. “Jackson, would you ever so kindly retrieve your boyfriend before he burns down my fucking kitchen?”

There was a long, awkward moment filled only with Stiles aggressively fishing a new frying pan out of the drawer under the stove and the eggs out of the fridge. Then Scott made a questioning noise.

“Boyfriend?” he asked around a yawn. “When did Jackson get a boyfriend?”

“He didn’t,” Jackson said, looking and sounding utterly confused.

“Your hookup, then,” Stiles amended, trying and failing to keep the disdain out of his voice. He cracked a few eggs into the pan too hard and had to fish out little pieces of broken egg. “Whatever, man. Just get him out of here before I have to stab him with a filet knife. He’s in my way.”

“I’m not his hookup either,” Aiden offered up, though he seemed to regret drawing attention to himself after the glare Stiles sent him. “Well, I’m not!”

Stiles glared even harder. “Then why the fuck are you even here?”

“Dude, he’s my hookup.”

Danny ambled into the kitchen, brushing past everybody else to give Aiden a quick kiss and pour himself a cup of coffee. Aiden stole it out of his hand, leaning in to kiss the pout off of Danny’s face. Danny just rolled his eyes and poured himself another.

Stiles stared at them, lost. “Wait. You’re dating Jackson’s project partner? When did that happen?”

Aiden groaned, whacking Danny in the stomach when he snorted into his coffee. “I’m not his partner,” he said. “That’s my brother.”

“Twin brother,” Danny added, gaze going distant and wistful for a second.

Straight brother. I’m the gay one, remember?”

Danny kissed him again before sliding back around the breakfast bar. “Yes, Ethan, trust me, I am very aware. Now, if you don’t mind, I’ve got coding to finish.”

“Need any help?” Aiden—no, Ethan, the gay twin because apparently there were twins involved now—asked, clearly euphemistically. When Danny didn’t answer beyond a long look thrown over his shoulder, Ethan laughed and invited himself along anyway, disappearing down the hallway in Danny’s wake.

Scott moaned, head in his hands. “I am so confused.”

“Me too,” Stiles said.

“Your eggs are burning,” Derek put in helpfully.

Stiles cursed, scrambling to get the eggs off the stove before the smoke alarm went off. By the time breakfast had been salvaged, at least enough for Scott to be willing to eat it in his half-conscious state, Derek had swiped the entire plate of bacon and retreated to his room and Scott was snoring quietly into the formica counter top. Only Jackson was still there, leaning up against the wall and watching Stiles with pursed lips.

“What?” Stiles asked, peevish.

“Were you jealous?”

Stiles’ instinctive flail meant that he bumped an elbow into one of the still-hot pans. He yelped—how Scott slept through that, he would never know—and his sputtered denials were mostly ignored as Jackson rounded the bar to turn the stove off with an exasperated sigh. He did not repeat his question, but then again, he didn’t need to. His raised eyebrow was enough all on its own.

“Okay, yeah, maybe I was,” Stiles snapped, still rubbing his stinging elbow. “You wanna make something of it?”

“Maybe.”

Stiles stopped halfway through attempting to stick his elbow under the kitchen faucet. “Wait, what? Really? Like…good something or bad something?”

“You’re ridiculous,” Jackson said, very matter-of-factly. “Now do you want to date me or not?”

It took a second for Stiles to catch up with the question, still far too hungover to make sense of the major emotional switcheroo that had just been pulled on him before 9 a.m. on a Saturday. But once he had, the “yes” fell out of his mouth without a second of hesitation.

“Good,” Jackson said, his smile only a little bit smug by his standard. Then he dragged Stiles away from the sink and kissed him, just like that, easy and smooth. “Now make me some bacon.”

Stiles stared after him as he sauntered off into the living room to collapse on the couch. “Oh wow, okay, is that how it’s gonna be? Whatever happened to the honeymoon phase?”

“It goes best with bacon,” Jackson called back.

For a minute, Stiles contemplated snarking back at him or telling him to make his own bacon, but for once, he couldn’t think of anything beyond the fluttery feeling in his chest and the tingle in his lips. He was pretty sure he was grinning like an idiot.

Scott blinked up at him, having rejoined the land of the conscious once more, for however long it would last. “Wait,” he said slowly. “Weren’t you just mad? What are you so happy about?”

“Jackson’s got a new boyfriend,” Stiles said, ripping open a new package of bacon. “And I’m pretty sure it’s me.”