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The Perfect Date

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Derek sat on his own on the bench, resting his back against the rough red brick of the large school building. He held his lunchbox close to his chest, watching as kids ran about across the soccer field, climbed over the playground, or sat in groups, talking.

He bowed his head, looking down at his feet as he absentmindedly drew shapes in the dirt with the toe of his shoe.

The light shifted as a shadow was cast over him.

Derek blinked in confusion, looking up at the kid that stood in front of him.

His dark brown hair had been cut back to a buzzcut, making his chocolate-brown doe eyes stand out all the more. His eyes sparkled and turned gold like honey in the sunlight and his pale cheeks were covered in scattered moles. He fidgeted slightly, gnawing on this bottom lip as he shifted from one foot to the other nervously.

“I’m Stiles,” the boy said quietly. “What’s your name?”

“Derek,” he whispered, struggling to find his voice.

“Um… Would you… Would you like to have lunch with me?” Stiles asked.

Derek thought about it for a second, staring at the boy. After a minute, he nodded.

Stiles’ lit up like a ray of sunshine, a bright smile lifting his lips as he excitedly bounced on the spot. “Cool. I know a really nice place under one of the trees. We can sit there and eat lunch. Come on.”

Derek pushed himself to his feet, clutching his lunchbox to his chest with one hand as the boy took his other hand and led Derek across the field and over to a nice shaded spot beneath a towering pine tree.

The twisted roots of the tree disturbed the soil, breaking free of the earth in places. The humps of old roots seemed to form a small circle and in the middle of it was a soft patch of grass and clover.

Stiles sat down on the ground, gently patting the grass beside him and encouraging Derek to sit down. He pulled out his lunchbox, laying it open to reveal his packed lunch--celery and carrot sticks, a packet of popcorn, sandwiches, a juice box, yogurt, and pretzels.

Derek sat down and slowly opened his lunchbox the same way, looking down at the food Laura had packed for him that day—a container of mixed berries, a small packet of chocolates, sandwiches, and an apple.

Stiles pulled his juice box out of his lunch box and offered it to Derek.

“You can have my juice,” he said. He scrunched up his face as he added, “I don’t like apple juice.”

“Oh,” Derek muttered quietly, taking the juice from Stiles. “Thank you.”

He looked down at his lunch box, thinking of what Stiles would like in return.

“Do you want to share my chocolate?” Derek asked, pulling the small packet out of his lunchbox and setting it down between them.

Stiles smiled at him sweetly, pulling out his sandwich and biting into it. He looked out across the soccer field, his dark eyes sparkling as he watched the light play across the wavering blades of grass.

Derek began to eat his berries.

“Why do you sit alone?” Stiles asked after a while.

Derek shrugged slightly. “Because I don’t have any friends.”

“I’ll be your friend,” Stiles offered, smiling brightly at Derek.

Derek felt his heart flutter, a warmth settling in his chest as he smiled back at Stiles. “I’d like to be your friend.”

“It’s official then,” Stiles said with finality. “We’re friends.”

They ate in quiet after that, occasionally asking each other questions.

“What’s your favourite colour?” Derek asked after a while, trying to fill the silence.

“I like blue,” Stiles answered. “Blue is pretty. What’s your favourite colour?”

“Orange,” Derek answered.

“What’s your favourite animal?” Stiles asked excitedly, chomping on his carrot sticks.

“Wolf,” Derek replied.

Stiles’ face lit up. “I like wolves too.”

A small smile lifted the corners of Derek’s lips.

“Do you like superheros?” Stiles asked.

Derek’s cheeks flushed a rosy-pink as he bowed his head and nodded.

“Me too!” Stiles said excitedly. “Who’s your favourite?”

“I like Superman,” Derek admitted.

“Superman’s cool,” Stiles said. “I have a Superman shirt at home. But I like Batman more.”

“I think you’d be a good Batman,” Derek said quietly.

Stiles giggled, a soft blush colouring his cheeks.

“You’d make an awesome Superman,” Stiles said.

Derek bowed his head, trying to hide the bright red blush that coloured his face and the tips of his ears.

The two of them finished their lunches and continued to talk until the bell rang. When they made their way back inside and into class, Stiles took Derek’s hand and walked him over to the table by the window and sat with him.

When classes were over, the kids gathered their backpacks and waited for their parents. Stiles stayed with Derek until the Sheriff came to pick him up.

When he saw his dad, he gave Derek a hug before running over to his dad’s side and taking the man’s hand.

Over the buzz of chatter in the school yard, Derek heard Stiles’ voice.

“I had a date today,” Stiles told his dad excitedly. “He’s the Superman to my Batman.”

Derek blushed slightly, bowing his head as he sat down on the front step and waited.

A little while later, Laura arrived, smiling sweetly at her little brother.

“Hey, Der-bear,” she said softly, reaching for his backpack and swinging it over one shoulder before offering her hand to Derek. “You ready to go home?”

He nodded, pushing himself to his feet and taking her hand. They walked down the road they always took to walk home—the one that went past the playground and the reserve that they’d cut through to get home.

“What did you do today?” Laura asked.

“I went on a date,” Derek said proudly.

“Did you now?” Laura said, amused. “How did it go?”

“Perfect,” Derek answered. “It was the perfect date. He’s really nice and likes wolves.”

He thought for a moment, smiling to himself as he added, “He’s the Batman to my Superman.”