Derek isn’t sure what’s going on the first time it happens. He just knows that a grumpy Stiles wakes him up at six am by knocking on his door.
“What?” Derek growls after he opens the door, as he tries to blink himself awake.
Stiles, in a pair of jeans, a white shirt topped with a purple and blue plaid flannel, lets himself inside, carrying a brown paper bag in his arms.
“I’m making pancakes,” he says and walks in, passing a confused Derek, finding his way to the kitchen Derek barely uses.
Derek isn’t even sure that he has all the ‘tools’ to make pancakes. Unless Stiles mixes the batter in a glass, Derek knows he has one of those somewhere. There has to be at least two of those in one of the cabinets from that time Cora kept water next to her bed at night, freaking Derek out cause he read somewhere that people who wake up to drink water in the middle of the night most likely already have or are developing diabetes. Not like that would be possible with werewolves, but still, he was anxious.
Forty five minutes after Stiles walks in, Derek gets a plate with a tower of pancakes left on the coffee table in front of him. Stiles doesn’t say anything, he just sits down next to Derek on the couch with his own plate and opens the bottle of maple syrup. Stiles then slides the syrup towards Derek before he starts eating and stares at the TV as if it’s all normal. Nothing weird has happened, he makes pancakes every day. He did not follow any instructions that he found on food-network-dot-com.
After Stiles leaves for school Derek decides to do the dishes because apparently he has some and he finds other plates, bowls and utensils stocked in one of the cabinets that Stiles left open in order to say ‘I knew you had these’. Derek is surprised because he didn’t know about them. It must be Cora’s doing. If it wasn’t for her, Stiles would’ve dropped it and Derek could go back to sleep.
The second time Stiles randomly shows up at Derek’s is two days later, when he comes after school and lets himself inside. Luckily, Derek hears the jeep pull up and isn’t too surprised. He’s just re-reading The Death of Ivan Ilyich for that one (probably not) last time and as always he sympathizes with the man.
Stiles sits down on the couch, leaving his backpack on the floor before pulling out his books. He’s avoiding Derek’s stare from the other side of the room where he’s semi sitting on his bed with his legs extended.
“I have a test tomorrow and I need somewhere peaceful to study. There are construction workers at my neighbors’ house, it’s like a war zone,” Stiles explains himself, staring back at Derek while he allows himself to speak.
“I didn’t say anything,” Derek replies before he buries himself in Leo Tolstoy’s words.
It’s about two hours later when Derek finally closes the book and gets off the bed. He walks into the kitchen and puts two frozen pizzas in the oven he discovered few days back.
Derek is scared that he might burn them so he stays close to the oven the whole time. He reads the instructions on the box a couple of times, to make sure he’s not doing anything wrong. He doesn’t cook really. He’s used to eating out and ordering take-out. He eats take-out so much that the delivery boys from both the Chinese and Italian place started calling him Mr. Hale a long time ago.
Derek makes one pizza for himself and one for Stiles, serving them with a glass of coke. As he leaves the glass and the plate in front of Stiles, the same way Stiles left the pancakes, Derek glances at Stiles’ books. He recognizes the titles of the books on Stiles’ list. He knows exactly what each and every one of those books is about because that’s what Derek does in his free time. He reads. Whenever he’s not worrying about alpha packs, his insane uncle or the fact that Stiles is being possessed, he enjoys a good book, especially the books he didn’t read in high school.
“English,” Stiles tells him.
“You do know that Don Quixote is a metaphor for eccentric people and the windmills represent society,” Derek questions Stiles as he heads back to the kitchen to get his plate, “right?”
“But, of course,” Stiles shrugs and fakes a smile. He did not know that, “Derek?”
“Yeah?” Derek responds.
“Is there a hidden message in Hamlet?” Stiles asks, his eyes glued on the entrance of the kitchen, waiting for Derek to answer.
“No Stiles, Shakespeare tends to be pretty straightforward,” Derek acknowledges, before he exits the kitchen, in a hurry to get back to his book.
The third time Stiles pays Derek a visit is three days after the Don Quixote metaphor is explained to him. He finds an empty apartment left in a bit of a mess. There are clothes that haven’t been put in the wash, a few dirty dishes and a thick layer of dust on everything except the nightstand on Derek’s side of the bed and the coffee table.
And for a strange reason, Derek’s jumble bothers him. He takes out his cell from his right pocket and hits shuffle after pressing play on his music playlist. It gives him a beat to dance to while he does Derek’s laundry, dusts and does the dishes. Maybe he should clean his room every once in a while, he thinks to himself. Cleaning isn’t boring or tiring when you have the perfect tunes to accompany you.
Before he heads home he leaves Derek a note:
Because of your literature knowledge, I got a B+ and my teacher wrote that she’s glad I finally started understanding the books. Thank you. – Stiles
P.S. Your drier takes a lot of time and I couldn’t wait, so please take the clothes out. And you’re out of chips. Sorry.
When Derek comes home from actual grocery shopping, in order to feed Stiles the next time he just randomly stays over for hours, he finds the apartment reeking of Stiles. It’s surprisingly not as annoying as Derek thought it would be, the smell of Stiles everywhere. It’s the moment when he realizes that it soothes him that he decides it has become dangerous.
He finds the note on the nightstand and reads it over and over again for about ten times before he puts it down.
It’s good he bought chips then. And laundry? Why did Stiles do his laundry? Doesn’t he have anything smarter to do? Like actually doing his homework. Maybe reading the books would be a better idea.
And then he stops himself. Because yes, maybe Stiles doing what Stiles is supposed to do seems like a good idea, but then there would be no one to actually help everyone and figure everything out that the pack is too let-just-say-unintelligent to do. Stiles is perfect the way he is right now. And if Derek is supposed to renew his knowledge in Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe, then it’s worth it. It’s the least Derek can do to keep Stiles the way he is. Perfect. So perfect that Derek can’t help but feel like smiling every time he thinks about it.
It’s the fourth visit when things that were weird before are taken to the next level. A day after the note, Stiles comes to make dinner and as he walks in, carrying groceries (half of which Derek bought the previous day, but no one knows if Derek has ever walked into a super market) he informs Derek that the Sheriff is stopping by. Because (apparently) Stiles is very literal when it comes to books and the last time he got a B+ in English was when they were still learning the tenses. Go figure! The guy that connects every dot can’t make up that Lord Byron’s Childe Harold isn’t just a reckless human being that escapes everything in order to go to war. How couldn’t Stiles see himself in Childe Harold is beyond him.
Derek, after deciding to leave Ivan Ilyich to rest in peace, offers to help and is told that he can set the table up when the time comes. Till that moment “Get out of my kitchen, Derek!” shall be the theme song. And Stiles calling it ‘his kitchen’ makes Derek’s heart skip a beat, but that is not to be discussed.
Derek sets the table and while in the process of going back and forth for glasses and utensils, he tells Stiles that he’ll do the dishes to which Stiles responds with a grunt.
“What?” Derek requests as he pulls up some forks from a drawer and gives Stiles a narrow-eyed look.
“If you do them like yesterday, you won’t have what to eat out of by Monday.” Stiles responds, his eyes fixed on the tomatoes he’s chopping for the salad.
“And why do you suddenly care?” Derek asks again, reaching out for the compartment with knives.
“You’re family,” Stiles mutters, turning his head towards Derek right in time to catch Derek’s face expression. The mixture of confused and pissed off is something Stiles never knew was possible to portray. But there it is.
Derek clenches his fists around the utensils and heads towards the dining table. That word hurts him. Family, the thing he had for a while, the thing he didn’t have enough time to learn how to appreciate.
But that word coming from Stiles means something and Derek isn’t sure what. Are they just amazing friends now? Is there something more? Or is it all in Derek’s head? Is it all a mirage caused by Derek’s high hopes?
The next day the whole charade sees the light. Everything becomes clear as the day with just one question that Stiles asks.
Derek finds Stiles in his apartment, sitting on Derek’s bed and shaking like he’s been walking naked in the cold. And his heart drops because he can see that Stiles is a mess. All his instincts sharpen; he’s ready to react to anything. And he can’t watch Stiles this way. He has to do something about it.
“What did we say about you leaving your phone at random places?”
“Not to do it.” Derek answers straight away, realizing his crime. His battery was dead, so he left his phone on the charger. And it wasn't such a big deal, he was just next door.
“So? Where have you been?” Stiles demands from Derek, his eyes focused on him, watching as the older man walks towards his bed.
“My neighbor asked me to move her couch. She then offered a cup of tea and I couldn’t turn her down,” Derek replies calmly. He has a storm inside that won’t settle till Stiles is calm, but he won’t let him see that “What’s wrong?”
“Is she pretty?” Stiles snaps, frantically tapping his foot.
“She’s almost eighty, Stiles,” Derek says, calming down as he finally sees what it’s all about.
“Well, we wouldn’t be having this conversation if you didn’t leave your phone here. What if something happens to you? You can’t not answer your phone and expect me to guess that you’re not kidnapped again,” Stiles starts babbling. He gets up on his feet and starts pacing in front of the bed and around Derek. Just little circles that drive Derek insane because he knows exactly what he needs to do; but he can’t because of those same exact circles “What if your uncle just randomly decides to kill you? Or what if another alpha pack comes?”
“I’m pretty sure that all you said just now is overreacting,” Derek dares to speak.
“How?” Stiles shouts and stops to face Derek.
“Nothing’s going to happen, Stiles. It’s okay,” Derek whispers, locking his arms around Stiles’ body, trying to make him feel safe and get him to stop shaking. But at the same time, Derek allows himself to calm completely down, except for the part of him that wants to keep Stiles by his side, forever “I’m sorry about the phone, okay?”
“Okay,” Stiles whines as he feels Derek slowly letting go of the hug.
“Aren’t you supposed to be at school?” Derek asks, his desperate attempt to hide the hullabaloo that’s forming inside him. He can’t point at the last time he felt this kind of joy.
Derek takes a step back, but still keeps close because, if he’s being honest, he doesn’t really want to be too far away.
“Yup,” Stiles acknowledges, “I called to ask you something about… something and started panicking so...”
“Here you are,” Derek states.
“I should get back,” Stiles tells him, heavily breathing out before he takes a step away “Movie night tonight?” he stops and turns to Derek to catch the reaction to his suggestion.
“Sure,” Derek nods, his lips quirking into a smile.
“Okay, see you later,” Stiles says and quickly, catching Derek off guard, places a short kiss on Derek’s lips.
And that’s all that Derek needs to know for him to make a move himself. Now he is aware that whatever he’s starting to feel, more clearly than before, isn’t a mistake. Those hours turning in bed and thinking about Stiles are time well spent.
Stiles smiles and heads towards the front door again, this time more relaxed, acting as if he’s found Nirvana. And for a moment, Derek questions if it’s just the Adderall kicking in. And just as he’s about to go back to being grumpy, Derek lets his werewolf reflexes catch Stiles’ hand and with a twirl, he is facing Derek again.
“Like hell,” Derek chimes, sure about his actions and kisses Stiles again, full-mouthed and pulling him closer until he can feel Stiles’ heart trying to jump out of his chest.
For Derek, Stiles just became even more perfect