Derek hates flying. He will never understand why humanity thought it was a good idea to create giant metal monstrosities that flew through the sky even though logically they shouldn’t be able to get off the ground, just to get places. What was wrong with a car? If Derek had his way he would not be flying from New York to L.A however Laura had booked the tickets and it would have been rude not to accept them. Laura wants him home as soon as possible for her ridiculous summer wedding planning.
Derek takes his seat next to the window and sighs. It’s a 5 hour, 45 minute flight. If he were driving it would take 1 day, 17 hours. It’s not that Derek is going to freak out and annoy the other passengers; he just prefers mediums he can control. He likes driving his Camaro across country. It allows him to actually see the beauty of the American landscape. As a professional photographer, it helps to get some landscape shots on the website to attract customers. He can’t photograph anything at 30,000 feet. In retrospect volunteering to be the wedding photographer might have been a bad idea due to Laura needing him to be there for all her ‘serious wedding decisions’ as she puts it. Not that he doesn’t love his sister dearly and doesn’t mind being her photographer, it’s just he probably wouldn’t be as needed if he hadn’t volunteered himself.
A skinny, angular boy flops into the seat next to him, breaking Derek out of his self-pity. Derek watches him out of the corner of his eye. The boy has a splash of moles across his pale cheeks and bright amber eyes. He’s talking into his IPhone, the speech is rapid but the voice is musical, uplifting even.
“Yes Scott, I’m on the plane,” the boy says, his tone fond if exasperated, “No I will not be partaking in the atrocity that this airline calls an ‘in-flight meal’.”
Derek can feel the air quotes in that particular statement.
“I refuse to believe that reheated vegetables constitutes a meal,” The boy continues, gesturing wildly as he speaks. He seems to talk with his hands as well as his mouth, although Derek is in danger of being smacked in the face. “I’m 90% sure that chicken is not meant to be neon orange. Why 90%? Scott, remember the chicken from Nandos we had last time I was home. That color was defiantly neon. Or at least somewhere between tangerine and pumpkin.”
Derek smiles at that. The boy has a way with words.
“Gotta go Scottie,” The boy says, “I’ll text you when I land. Love ya buddy. Ok. Bye.” The boy hangs up and puts the phone into the front pocket of his ridiculously tight grey jeans. Not that Derek is looking. The boy slumps in his seat, but still manages to take up a surprising amount of room. The boy is all sharp angles. He’d make a good model Derek notes before looking away to the window.
Derek doesn’t pay attention to the safety announcement. It adds to his internal panic. The plane begins to move, tarmac slipping away. Derek hastily looks straight ahead, fingers gripping the armrest. Take off and landing are always the worst.
“Whoa buddy,” the boy says, “you ok?” Derek turns to face him. Green eyes drawn to amber ones.
“Sorry,” Derek grits out, like every word is a razor slicing his internal organs, “I hate flying. I’ll be fine in a second.” The boy snorts. Derek glares. He hates being made fun of.
“Whoa there buddy,” The boy says, “Tone down the eyebrows.” Derek glares harder.
“Ok,” The boy says, “You’re clearly stressed and possibly on the verge of a panic attack. I can sympathize with you there, those things are bitches. Plagued my childhood I can tell you. Anyway clearly on the verge of a panic attack or punching me in the face. Jury’s out on that one. I figure the best thing to do would be to distract you. So I am going to keep rambling until you calm down or punch me. I’d prefer the calming down to be completely honest because this is my moneymaker pal and I’d love to keep it this way.” The boy gestures to his face. Derek feels his hands unclenching from the armrests.
“See,” the boy says, smiling wide and pointing to Derek’s hands, “You’re calming down. I’m Stiles Stilinski by the way. I’d tell you my real name because I can see you thinking ‘Stiles what the fuck is that? That’s not a name.’ Just to be clear, no my parents didn’t hate me. It was my grandfather’s name on my mother’s side and for some reason that made it perfectly ok to lump me with this unpronounceable clusterfuck of a name. It’s long and Polish and pained my teachers my entire life. I’d change it legally but it’s a link to my mom so I keep it but everyone calls me Stiles which is fine.”
“Derek,” Derek says softly, when Stiles finally stops to breathe.
“Derek,” Stiles says and Derek may love the way it rolls off of Stiles tongue. “Pleasure to meet you. Can I ask why you’re flying if you hate it so much? Seems like you’re torturing yourself unnecessarily.” Derek sighs.
“It’s my sister is getting married and I volunteered to be the photographer” Derek says, aware that his hands have stopped trying to rip the armrest off. “She needs me to come back to help with the major wedding decisions. Even though she’s not getting married till next April.” Stiles nods, his fingers tapping out a steady rhythm on his thigh.
“So is photography a hobby?” Stiles asks. He sounds genuinely interested and not like he’s trying to stop Derek from freaking out, smashing a window and trying to jump out the plane.
“No a profession,” Derek replies, hands folded across his stomach and behaving themselves instead of denting the airplane aesthetics. Stiles brightens up at that.
“Awesome, do you have a company?” Stiles asks, leaning forward into Derek’s space. Stiles smells like Ax body spray but underneath that is a unusual combination. The words sunshine and gunpowder spring to mind.
“Mostly freelance but I’ve taken a few pictures for newspapers,” Derek replies. An airhostess offers them beverages. Her lipstick is the color of rubies in a jewelry store. Stiles asks for a two bottles of water and hands one to Derek, encouraging him to continue speaking.
“The New York Times asked me to cover gay pride once,” Derek says. He always brings up this story, because it’s funny and he thinks Stiles will appreciate it. “I was photographing a couple of drag queens when I got a pair of pantyhose thrown at me. I turned round to see three Latino Drag Queens arguing. They were speaking in rapid Spanish and kept pointing at me. Eventually one of them hauled me over and explained they’d been arguing over which one of them should ask me out.” Stiles chuckles.
“Let me guess, you politely declined because you’re a very straight man,” Stiles says, sipping water.
“Actually no, I’m bisexual,” Derek replies “However I did politely decline because I had a girlfriend at the time but one of them gave me their panties anyway with their number written in eyeliner.” Stiles laughs. It’s loud and kind of obnoxious but Derek likes it.
“Dude,” Stiles says, “Please tell me you kept the panties.” Derek nods, a grin spreading across his face. Stiles laughs and claps a hand on Derek’s shoulder. Maybe the flight won’t be that bad after all Derek thinks.
“And that was the time we found out that Scott was allergic to red food coloring,” Stiles says as he and Derek leave the plane. Derek grins despite himself. Stiles is painting the picture of his best friend Scott in a flattering yet honest way. He wonders if Derek will be repainted in the same way to Scott.
They wander through the airport to baggage collection. Stiles is even more animated when he can move all his limbs. Derek smiles softly at the sight of Stiles almost taking out a haughty blonde woman, when he stretches his arms out wide.
“I said sorry,” Stiles grumbles as they wait for the baggage carousel to start moving, “It wasn’t like I actually hit her.” Derek chuckles. The motors of the carousel begin to grind and the noise it like chalk on a blackboard. Derek winces at the sound. Stiles snorts and then claps his hand to his forehead, mouth wide open.
“Dude,” Stiles says, “I totally forgot to ask you where you live when you’re in California. If you’re close by we can totally hang out again while you’re in town. I mean I know you’ve got your sisters wedding but you gotta have some free time, I mean it’s the summer. And we both came from New York so if you’re too busy now, we can meet up back in the Big Apple.”
“Beacons Hills,” Derek cuts in, hoping to derail Stiles rambling even if it is kind of adorable, “I live in Beacon Hills.” Stiles mouth opens wider.
“Dude you’re kidding,” Stiles says, grabbing his bag from the carousel without turning round. Derek realizes that Stiles doesn’t have to. No one else would have a Harley Quinn suitcase. “I live in Beacon Hills. Shit Hale. You mother must be Talia Hale.” Derek nods, reaching for his bag. It’s black and completely ordinary.
“I’m Sheriff Stilinski’s kid,” Stiles says, clapping a hand on Derek’s shoulder. Derek smirks. He vaguely remembers Sheriff Stilinski. Derek wasn’t a troublemaker; he’d buried himself in the arts and basketball. Derek refuses to admit the warmth in his chest is from the knowledge that he and Stiles live in the same town. Must have been the airplane food.
“How are you getting home?” Stiles asks, using one hand to pull his suitcase along and swinging his other arm around Derek’s shoulder.
“My younger sister Cora is picking me up,” Derek replies, “You?”
“Not sure. Dad will probably bring my jeep,” Stiles says, his eyes glazing over. Stiles had talked about his jeep on the plane and it was clear that he was very attached to it, in the same way that Derek was attached to his Camaro.
They walk through duty free and to the exit. Stiles detaches his arm from Derek’s shoulder. Derek doesn’t miss the weight. He doesn’t. The automatic doors open with a soft whoosh.
“Sweet baby Jesus,” Stiles says. Derek cracks up laughing because the sight is simply glorious. A tanned boy with dark hair and puppy dog brown eyes is holding a huge sign with has Welcome Home Stiles scrawled across it in luminous glittery pink. There’s a picture of Stiles underneath, wearing what looked like a superman outfit. The tanned boy waves the sign enthusiastically. He’s standing with two girls, (one dark haired, one ginger), a boy with light brown curls and an older man who’s wearing a police uniform. The Sheriff, Derek’s mind supplies.
“How did they even get hold of that photo?” Stiles mutters. Derek’s still laughing and Stiles glares at him. “You are the worst you know that.”
“I think it’s sweet,’ Derek says. He wishes he had his camera on hand to capture this beautiful moment. Stiles rolls his eyes, grabs Derek by the arm and yanks him over to the Stiles Welcome Party.
The tanned boy ditches the sign to run up to Stiles. Stiles lets go of Derek’s arm, drops his suitcase and runs to the boy. They meet in the middle, hugging fiercely.
“Missed you Scott,” Stiles says, hands tangling in the boys’ denim jacket. Ah Derek thinks so this is Scott. Derek’s phone buzzes in his pocket. He checks it and sees a text from Cora, telling him she’s just parked and to wait in arrivals. As if he would go anywhere else. Stiles is hugging his Dad whilst gesturing to Derek. Derek feel somewhat awkward, standing with Stiles suitcase and watching the reunion.
Scott wanders up to Derek, friendliness emanating from him. He picks up Stiles suitcase and sticks his hand out.
“Hi, I’m Scott,” he says, grinning widely. He looks like a human puppy, all bright eyes and affection.
“Derek,” Derek says, shaking the offered hand. “Stiles and I met on the plane.”
“Yeah he said,” Scott, says, thrusting his hand into his pocket, “You live in Beacon Hills too?”
“Yes, I’m back for my sister’s wedding planning.”
“Laura Hale?” Scott asks. Derek nods. Beacon Hills may not be small but news does spread fast. Derek feels somewhat awkward. Scott seems like a truly nice guy. Sunshine pours from his smile and Derek instantly knows that Scott is a good friend. There’s something about him that radiates kindness. It’s clear in Scott’s face.
Stiles bounds up, throws an arm around Scott’s shoulders, grinning madly. There’s a glint in Stiles’ eyes, almost manic but definitely mischievous. Scott smirks at him.
“We’re about to head out,” Stiles says, “Dad promised pizza and I am not missing that.”
“Pineapple?” Scott asks hopefully.
“Dude, I will never understand your crazy pizza preferences, pineapple is a fruit. Why would you put fruit on pizza? It’s food of the gods. It’s blasphemous to even consider sullying pizza with an atrocity such as fruit.”
Derek smiles. Scott rolls his eyes, clearly used to Stiles opinionated monologues. Stiles turns his attention to Derek.
“I’ll see you around then,” Stiles says. There’s weight to his words, he clearly expects to see Derek around.
“Probably,” Derek replies. He wants to see Stiles again. He also wants to kiss Stiles but he buries that thought quickly. He’s only known the guy for five hours.
“More like defiantly,” Stiles says, “I programmed my number into your phone when you weren’t looking. No excuses eyebrows.” He grins and bounds off, Scott in tow.
Derek immediately pulls his phone out, looking at his contacts. Sure enough Stiles is in there; Derek would unquestionably remember naming a contact ‘Bodacious Hunk of Man Flesh’. He can hear Cora calling his name and wanders over to her, smiling all the way.
“Peter I am not having Queen Anne’s Lace in my bouquet,” Laura says angrily, “It means delicate femininity.”
“Perhaps Rhododendron is better,” Peter snaps back, slamming Laura’s overflowing wedding planner onto the table. Laura and Peter stand on opposite sides of the family dining table, fuming. Derek can see they’re one ill-timed comment away from ripping each other apart. He wants to make a hasty retreat to avoid his uncle’s cutting words and Laura’s vicious replies when his mother walks in. Talia’s ability to silence a room is both amazing and terrifying.
“It is Laura’s wedding, she can choose her own bouquet,” Talia says, her voice measured and calm. Laura throws a smug look over at Peter. “Laura, please take Peter’s ideas into consideration, you did ask him for help.” Peter’s lip curls at that comment.
“If you’re not going to play nice,” Talia continues, “Then you will take your discussions out of the family home. This is not a place for arguments.” With that, Talia leaves, her skirt swirling round her legs. “And leave this door open,” She calls over her shoulder.
Laura sighs, takes a seat at the table and gestures that Peter should do the same. Peter does, flicking open the wedding planner to the flower collage page. Derek knows he’s been here too long because he knows that ridiculous planner back to front. He knows how many cake samples Laura has tried, how many wedding dresses are in consideration, how many calories Laura and her fiancée are allowed on their freaking wedding diets. Said fiancée is noticeably absent from the whole wedding planning. Derek doesn’t understand why he’s here and Nicholas is not.
Laura and Peter are calmly discussing the bouquet again. Derek doesn’t feel the need to be here and quietly slips out. His mother will act as mediator if they start going at it again. Derek’s not sure who he’d put money on; his sister and uncle are very formidable.
Derek’s phone goes off, playing the theme tune to Third Rock From The Sun. Derek wasn’t even aware that he had that on his phone though he suspects Stiles downloaded it purely to make sure it was his ringtone.
“Hello,” Derek says.
“Top of the morning to ya sonny,” Stiles says in a terrible approximation of an Irish accent. “How are you this fine day?”
“I was fine until someone tried to deafen me with their appalling attempt at impressions,” Derek replies.
“Haha,” Stiles says, “What are you up to? Any serious wedding decisions being made as we speak?”
“Laura almost killed Peter over the bouquet,” Derek says, leaning against the wall.
“Go Laura,” Stiles says, “Uncle Fester gives me the creeps.”
“If Peter is Uncle Fester who am I?” Derek inquires.
“Pugsley,” Stiles says, “Cora is totally Wednesday. We had English together in high school, the amount of times she threatened to punch me in the face Jesus.”
“I can see why she’d want to,” Derek replies, “Do you know how irritating you are?”
“I’m not irritating,” Stiles, says, “I’m cute. Lydia told me so.”
“Lydia is a pathological liar.”
“Don’t be such a sourpuss just because someone else thinks I’m adorable.”
“I never said I found you adorable or cute.”
“Ah but you were thinking it.”
“Was not,” Derek retorts, aware that he sounds like a five year old.
“Was too and you know it.” Derek can picture Stiles waggling his eyebrows.
“Not,” Derek says.
“Oh my god Derek will you shut the fuck up?” A voice says from the stairs. Derek looks up to see his sister Cora leaning against the bannister.
“Language Cora,” Talia yells from the kitchen. Derek raises his eyebrows at Cora, smiling smugly. Cora rolls her eyes and flips him off.
“Talk to you later,” Derek says to Stiles.
“Adios amigo,” Stiles says, “And was too.” Stiles hangs up before Derek can answer. Cora smirks from her position on high.
“What?” Derek asks, putting his phone back into the pocket of his jeans.
“You’re head over heels,” Cora replies, “And it’s frankly disgusting. I mean its Stilinski. He’s cute but a major pain in the ass.”
“I am not head over heels,” Derek snaps back. Cora raises an eyebrow, clearly unimpressed.
“You practically vibrate with glee when you read a text from him,” Cora says, “It’s been a week, just ask him out already so we don’t have to suffer your wallowing in self-pity.”
“He’s a friend,” Derek replies somewhat sulkily, “I’m allowed friends outside of my family.”
“Whatever, the real question is have you told Erika yet?” Cora asks. Derek narrows his eyes at her. Erika, his crazy but loyal roommate and best friend, loves meddling in his life. She sees Derek as her personal project and was damned if he was going to spend the rest of his life alone. Her boyfriend Boyd stays out of the way and lets her weave her witchcraft.
“No,” Derek replies slowly, “Wait have you told her?” Cora smiles maliciously and wanders back up the stairs. Derek yells after her but Cora ignores him. There’s the slam of a door and then Fall Out Boy is playing which means Cora is a lost cause.
“Derek, talk reason into our clearly deluded Uncle and stop texting your boyfriend,” Laura yells from the dining room which means Derek is officially back on team wedding.
“He’s not my boyfriend,” Derek yells back and is met with derisive snorts from both Laura and Peter. He hates his family sometimes.
“I know who you like,” Erika sings to Derek when he finally sets up his laptop and accepts her Skype call. She’s lounging on the beaten up red sofa they’d bought together.
“Can I talk to someone who isn’t stuck in kindergarten?” Derek asks sullenly. Erika grins.
“I’m sorry, Boyd is too busy with work to answer your call, perhaps you’d like to leave a message?”
“She’s making me massage her feet,” Boyd yells off-screen. Derek sighs. The voice of reason is otherwise occupied thus leaving Derek to the mercy of Erika.
“Oh come on Sweetie,” Erika says pouting, “Don’t be like that. And don’t frown. You’ll get lines.”
“I’m not frowning.”
“Tell that to your face. I’m liking the beard by the way, makes you look cuddly and approachable.”
“Thanks,” Derek says shortly. Erika raises an eyebrow and tosses her blonde locks over her shoulder.
“I return to my original statement Mr. Grumpy,” She says, “I know who you like.”
What did Cora tell you?” Derek asks through gritted teeth, planning to put blue hair dye in his sisters’ shampoo the moment he got the chance.
“Nothing much, I hoped you’d spill the proverbial beans.” Derek gives Erika a look, which clearly says you’re a lying liar who lies.
“Nothing honest,” Erika says, juggling the laptop and crossing her heart with a manicured finger. “Now how are you?”
“Fine,” Derek replies, leaning back in the rickety desk chair. Erika makes a noise like a buzzer on a 70’s game show.
“I’m sorry, we don’t accept fine as a suitable answer, we see it as a conversational cop-out. Please try again.” Derek rolls his eyes.
“You want the explicit details don’t you?” Derek says, running a hand through his hair. Erika’s grin seems to widen.
“Every sordid one.”
Derek sighs softly.
“I’ll blackmail Laura into telling me,” Erika threatens, pointing a finger at him, “You know I will.”
“Ok, ok,” Derek says and tells her. At the end of his story, Erika smiles at him fondly.
“You are so fucking in love it’s actually embarrassing,” Erika says. Derek snorts derisively.
“I’ve just made a new friend,” He says, though his tone is somewhat bitter. Boyd pops into view over Erika’s shoulder.
“Dude you’re in love,” Boyd says, “Accept it and move on.”
“Move on him,” Erika says, “In a sexy way.” She waggles her eyebrows suggestively. “I expect you to have lots of exciting and kinky sex by the end of this week and to tell me all about it.”
Derek shuts the laptop after that and refuses to talk to Erika for a week.
Derek looks at the wide array of cereals in front of him, seriously regretting his decision to go shopping for the family. It’s his mother; she can make him do anything. Also because the girls in the family are dress shopping, something that Derek wants no part in. Peters quote ‘passing interest in fashion’ unquote was the only man partaking in the wedding madness.
Derek sighs and grabs a box at random. He doesn’t care if Laura is on a special wedding diet, she can buy her own damn cereal.
“You do realize you said that out loud,” A voice says to Derek’s left. He turns and Stiles is standing before him holding a basket in his left hand. It appears to be full of toothpicks and what looks like a Nicki Minaj CD. Stiles is also wearing painfully tight red jeans, no that Derek was looking.
“I think it’s very rude to mess with your sister’s dietary habits,” Stiles says, putting his basket on the floor, “I mean Cora is a like a tsunami, I can only imagine Laura is like a hurricane.”
“Apt description,” He says, loving the way Stiles face lights up, “However her wedding isn’t till April, she can afford to eat Coco Puffs, it won’t kill her.” Stiles grins. Derek loves that grin.
“Well, clearly you are preoccupied with ruining your sisters diet, I’ll see you around,” Stiles says. Derek smiles dampens somewhat.
“Yeah, see you round,” Derek replies. He likes Stiles, spending so much time together in a small environment has taught Derek a lot of things about Stiles. He knows his favorite color is blue and his favorite food is curly fries. He knows that Stiles used to have a pet Boa called Eleanor until she outgrew her tank and had to be given away and that Stiles is studying criminology at NYU because he wants to become a detective like his Dad. Derek wants to actually spend time with Stiles but is so nervous about asking him out. Which is ridiculous. He’s never had that problem before.
“Hey, do you wanna go bowling this Saturday?” Stiles asks, as he picks up his basket. Derek blinks several times, mildly shocked.
“A bunch of us are going; do you want to join us?” Stiles continues, clearly oblivious to Derek’s inner turmoil.
“Yes,” Derek blurts out. He coughs and tries again, “yes, that would be great. As long as your friends don’t mind hanging out with a twenty-seven year old.” Stiles waves his hand, as if to mollify Derek’s concerns.
“No problem, I’ll text you the details” Stiles says, his amber eyes wide and bright. Derek could stare at those eyes forever and never be bored with the view. Christ he’s in deep here. Stiles is waving as he walks away, basket swinging in his hand. Derek waves in reply, heart hammering hard. He’s going to punch Cora later, she was right.
Derek feels like he’s going on his first ever date all over again. And this isn’t even a date; it’s a group of people hanging out together. Derek cannot be having a clothes crisis now. He wants to look nice but casual. Is a sweater with thumbholes too casual? Derek buries his face in the fabric of the sweater, wishing he could just die. It would be so much easier than trying to pick a freaking sweater.
“Wear the damn thumbhole sweater already,” Peter says from the doorway of Derek’s room. It’s hardly his room anymore, but childhood mementoes still remain on some of the shelves. It’s nice his mother kept them but he thinks participation trophies from kindergarten is a bit much.
“Go away Peter,” Derek says through the sweater.
“Sorry I don’t speak immature moron,” Peter replies coolly, leaning against the doorframe. “Put on the sweater and go charm the sheriffs kid. It’s hardly rocket science.”
“I really like him,” Derek mumbles, pulling the sweater on.
“Obviously,” Peter says, inspecting his fingernails, “It’s causing me physical pain, watching you fawn over him. He goes to university in New York, it’s not like you’d ever have to work out long distance.” Derek sighs. Peter rolls his eyes and calls down the stairs, “Talia talk to your lovelorn son, he’s clearly mentally deficient if he can’t comprehend that all he has to do is talk to the bloody boy.”
Talia bustles up the stairs, her skirts swishing. She flicks Peter behind the ear and shoos him away from Derek’s room. Peter goes, rubbing his ear but smirking. Derek loves his Uncle but he can understand why Stiles is nervous of him. Peter has the aura of a wolf that would play with his prey before devouring it whole and wiping his mouth with a silk handkerchief afterwards. It’s unnerving.
“Derek, if you really like this boy,” Talia says, touching his arm gently, “You should tell him. There’s always a chance he’ll like you back.” She smiles and Derek is reminded how much he loves his mother. It only takes a few words from her to make him smile. “As long as you’re happy,” Talia continues, “That’s all that matters.”
“Thanks Mom,” Derek says, a smile touching the edges of his mouth. Talia pats his arm and bustles out the room, yelling at Cora to turn down the music if she wants to finish College. Cora yells back but the music decreases in volume. Derek shakes his head and pulls on his leather jacket. Ask Stiles to date him. That shouldn’t be too hard.
“You suck Stilinski,” Jackson says from his seat, his arm curled around Lydia. Stiles flips him off as he return to his seat next to Derek. Derek resists the urge to punch Jackson in the face. He doesn’t like the asshole very much and doesn’t understand how Lydia can stand him. To be fair Lydia has Jackson wrapped around her little finger.
Scott stands up to take his go, Allison cheering for him. They’re a cute couple according to Stiles but he wishes them all the best, if only they’d stop making out all the time.
“I fancy curly fries,” Stiles says, his hand tapping out a rhythm on the red plastic seat.
“Come on I’ll buy you some,” Derek says without thinking. Stiles looks at him as if Derek has bestowed a great gift upon him.
“You’re officially my new favorite,” Stiles says, clapping a hand on Derek’s shoulder.
“Hey,” Scott calls from the bowling lane, but he’s smiling.
“Sorry Scottie, you haven’t bought me curly fries,” Stiles replies, shrugging, “Nor are you wearing a sweater with thumbholes.” Derek blushes and looks away. Stiles grabs Derek by the arm leading him away to the restaurant at the back of the Bowling Alley.
Families crowd the tiny plastic tables, kids screeching and laughing, adults trying to pacify toddlers and retain some kind of order. Stiles bounces on the balls of his feet, practically vibrating with excitement.
“I love curly fries,” Stiles says, grinning manically and scaring a nearby child with the extent of his glee.
“You said,” Derek comments dryly. Stiles rolls his eyes as they reach the front of the queue, then turns round and orders the largest bucket of curly fries on the menu. Derek forks over the 5 dollars and they wander off with the bucket.
“Hey look a crane machine!” Stiles exclaims through a mouthful of fries.
“Chew your food,” Derek says. Stiles punches his arm and then drags him over to the crane machine filled with adorable, fluffy toys.
“I’m amazing at these,” Stiles says, pushing the bucket into Derek’s hands. “Lydia said I should have done something constructive with my time like learn Latin with her but I already know the exorcism chant from Supernatural, when else am I going to need it?” Stiles puts a quarter into the slot and fires up the machine. Derek smirks as Stiles concentrates intently with his tongue sticking out of his mouth as he does so. Derek watches Stiles maneuver the crane into the pile of plush woodland creatures.
“Score,” Stiles croons as the crane ascends, a soft fox clasped in its claws. Derek claps Stiles on the back as Stiles bends to retrieve the fox. It’s luminous orange with shiny black buttons for eyes. Stiles’ eyes are bright and he looks out from under dark lashes up at Derek. Derek may or may not picture Stiles in a compromising position later because of that particular look.
“Here,” Stiles says, presenting the fox like it’s a precious gift, “I bequeath my winnings to you.” Derek stammers but Stiles ignores him. “Take the fox Derek, it’s a gift. A thank-you for these delicious curly fries.” Derek swaps the curly fries for the fox. It’s soft to the touch, made of some kind of fleece material.
“What are you going to name it?” Stiles asks, thrusting fries into his mouth.
“What would you suggest?” Derek replies, turning the fox over in his hand.
“Well it’s clearly a girl fox because it’s so pretty,” Stiles says thoughtfully. Derek nods. “I suggest Claudia, my Mom’s name was Claudia.” The last part is said almost wistfully.
“Claudia it is then,” Derek says. Stiles smiles again but its softer than his usual illuminated grin which could encompass the entire United States in it’s glow.
“So you never learned any Latin?” Derek asks. Stiles raises an eyebrow.
“No, which is good for you otherwise Claudia may have gone to someone who didn’t love her,” Stiles replies, “Anyway I was struggling with Spanish, why would I add another language to my list of worries?”
“Creo que eres increíble y tengo muchas ganas de besarte,” Derek says.
“You speak Spanish,” Stiles says, somewhat amazed, “Dude what did you say?” Derek winks and walks away, Stiles scrambling after him, pestering him to reveal all.
“Stilinski get your ass over here and bowl,” Jackson yells, shattering the playful atmosphere.
Derek is lying in bed some time later, staring at his ceiling and hugging his fox toy to his chest like a lovesick teenager when the first rock hits his window. Derek sits bolt upright, placing the toy on the bedside cupboard and flicking on the lamp. The second rock smacks against the window. Derek gets off the bed, pulling on a jumper as he does so. He opens the window and leans out, staring at the ground below, which is somewhat, illuminated by the light of his room.
“I think you’re amazing and I really want to kiss you, IN SPANISH” Stiles stage whispers from the ground below. Derek blushes tomato red and wants to bury his face in his pillow and never wake up again.
“You better get your ass down here right now Hale or I’m coming up,” Stiles threatens but there’s a playful edge to his tone. Derek splutters.
“I… wait hold on,” Derek says.
He closes the window and races downstairs. Stiles is waiting for him on the porch. Derek pulls him close, nerves tingling at the thought of kissing Stiles finally.
Then they’re kissing…
And it’s passionate and fiery and amazing. Stiles’ lips are soft and he’s so responsive and it’s perfect and Derek’s never felt like this. He nips at Stiles’ bottom lip, which leads Stiles to respond in kind. He crowds Stiles up against the porch railing, one hand gripping his waist, the other cradling Stiles head. Stiles is clutching Derek’s’ jumper with both hands as if afraid of letting go.
Eventually breathing becomes a necessity and they come up for air. Stiles is grinning at Derek like Derek is the best thing ever. Derek is pretty sure he’s wearing the exact same expression. The moment is so amazing, so real and tangible. Until its ruined by Laura wolf-whistling from the doorway. Derek whips around to see most of his adult immediate family standing in the doorway.
“Good for you Derek,” Laura says while Cora sniggers into her hand. Peter is smirking like the cat that ate the cream. Talia is just smiling fondly at them.
“Go away,” Derek hisses. Stiles peers round Derek.
“Hello Hale Family, Uncle Fester, Wednesday, Morticia,” Stiles says, nodding to them in turn. Laura waves cheerily while Cora bursts into raucous laughter.
“Lets leave them to canoodle,” Talia says, shooing the girls with his hands.
“Remember to use protection,” Peter says, winking at Stiles. Talia slaps Peter on the back of the head and ushers him inside.
Derek groans and buries his face in the crook of Stiles neck. Stiles smells amazing and natural. Derek is glad he’s not suffocating on Axe body spray.
“I like your family,” Stiles says, “They have no boundaries.” He’s petting Derek’s head gently. Derek moans into Stiles neck.
“Come on dumbass,” Stiles says, “Dad’s on a nightshift. Let’s go back to mine, have vigorous and energetic sex and if you’re lucky I might make you pancakes in the morning.”
Derek grins. He’s on board with this plan.
“It’s going to be fine,” Stiles says, straightening Derek’s bowtie.
“I hate presenting my work,” Derek whines, “It’s a photograph, it doesn’t necessarily have a hidden meaning. Sometimes a duck is a duck.” Stiles shrugs and pecks Derek on the lips. It’s been almost two years and Derek will never get over the rush of affection he feels when Stiles does that.
“Come on,” Stiles says, “It’s a couple of hours, then we can come home and christen our new sheets.” Stiles waggles his eyebrows and Derek snorts. Stiles grabs their apartment keys out of the bowl by the door while Derek pulls on his jacket.
“I love you,” Derek says, taking Stiles hand as they head out, feeling grounded.
“Obviously,” Stiles says, kissing Derek’s cheek. “I’m pretty fucking loveable. And I love you too you dork.”
“We could skip the show,” Derek says, reeling Stiles in for a proper kiss, tongue and teeth included. Stiles breaks away and swats Derek’s arm.
“No we have to go, Erika will skin me alive if we don’t.”
Derek sighs dramatically but he’s happy. He’s never felt this happy, doesn’t care that he and Stiles have reached domestic bliss in their twenties.
“Creo que eres increíble y tengo muchas ganas de besarte,” Derek says, before they leave their apartment block.
“Despues del espectaculo, puedes besarme todo lo que quieras',” Stiles says and pulls Derek out into the crisp night air.