Erica had sent Derek the link to the ad as a joke. Really, she had. She would swear up and down after the event that her intention was definitely not to incite a blowout within the Hale family, the likes of which hadn't been seen since the Turducken Incident of '04. It was a joke, Derek. Who the hell actually hires a guy to pretend to be the world's worst boyfriend? Who does that?
Derek would later protest that he wasn't in his right mind. That he had been wound so tightly and stretched so thin between work and his family that the only possible solution was to hire Stiles.
The Fake Boyfriend Debacle of 2014, Laura believed, wasn't actually all that bad, and everyone should shut up about it and just move on. She still refuses to acknowledge the part she played in attempting to shove Stiles' pants down the garbage disposal, though.
If you'd like to have me as your strictly platonic date for Thanksgiving, but have me pretend to be in a very long or serious relationship with you, to torment your family, I'm game. I can do these things, at your request: openly hit on other guests while you act like you don't notice, start instigative discussions about politics and/or religion, propose to you in front of everyone, pretend to be really drunk as the evening goes on, start an actual, physical fight with a family member, either inside or on the front lawn for all the neighbors to see. I require no pay but the free meal I will receive as a guest.
Derek blinked at the wall of text in front of him, growing increasingly concerned for the state of Erica's mental health. The ad, taken from Craigslist, apparently, was sitting in an email for him, sent from Erica with a maniacal "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA do it" as the only other message. Derek stood up from his desk and rubbed his face with his hands in an attempt to rid himself of the tiredness that seemed to cling to his every pore permanently these days, and began walking towards his kitchen.
Why the hell would Derek hire someone to ruin his family's Thanksgiving? That was just- Derek stopped mid-stride, suddenly coming to the realisation that this was, actually, just the thing he didn't know he was looking for. Of course, obviously he didn't want to outright torture his family, but after the whole "Hey let's hire Derek an escort without his permission because he's seemed down lately and that's definitely the only possible course of action to fix any problems he may be having!" incident -courtesy of Laura- combined with his parent's incessant attempts at setting him up with awful, awful family friends, Derek was kind of at his breaking point. They wouldn't take no for an answer, either, and he was definitely dreading turning up to Thanksgiving without a partner -again- and having to endure the constant pitying looks and condescending pep talks about how "Der, you just have to open your heart. You'll find someone. Why don't you give the Cooper's daughter, Macy, a call? She's nice!". No. Never again, Derek decided. So he spun around and marched back over to his computer, hovering his mouse over the link to the ad. It really wouldn't be that bad Derek thought determinedly. He was just going to teach his family a little lesson.
I'm doing it. -D 2:43 PM
To: Eyebrows Eyebrows Eyebrows
Doing what? -E 2:45 PM
The Craigslist thing. I'm doing it. -D 2:46 PM
To: Eyebrows Eyebrows Eyebrows
DEREK. NO. WHAT? -E 2:46 PM
To: Eyebrows Eyebrows Eyebrows
DEREK. ANSWER YOUR PHONE. IT WAS A JOKE. ARE YOU SERIOUS? I NEED TO TALK TO YOU SO I CAN DECIDE WHETHER THIS IS HILARIOUS OR A TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE MISTAKE. -E 3:02 PM
Thanksgiving day saw Derek sitting on his couch, staring at the wall in front of him while he waited for this 'Stiles' to show up. When he heard the confident rap of knuckles against his front door, he lurched forward onto his feet immediately, striding over to it in a matter of seconds before realising that maybe he shouldn't seem too eager. Or nervous. Not that he was nervous, because he was the one in control of this situation. He was the one hiring someone to mess with his family for Thanksgiving as sweet, sweet retribution for all those years of interference and embarrassment. Derek felt a small smile creep onto his face at the thought of his parent's expressions when they saw the undoubtedly disgusting man who was currently standing behind his door. He waited a few more seconds before grasping the handle and swinging it open. He frowned upon taking in the sight before him.
"What." Derek said flatly, not even attempting to hide just how unimpressed he was by the kid currently rocking back and forth on his heels in his doorway.
"Oh! Um, Derek? I'm Stiles? I placed that ad in Craigslist and we um, we talked about the whole Tha-"
"No, I know who you are. I was just expecting- " Derek cut himself off. He didn't want to be rude, but, where was the six foot four, overweight, bearded behemoth he had been envisioning?
"Oh, yeah! Sorry I'm kind of scrawny? I guess you were expecting some kind of like, monster man with face tattoos and a bad attitude huh? Don't worry though, cus like, I'm a really good actor and I can do all that stuff I listed in my ad no problem, and I know you kept offering but I really don't need any payment cus seriously a good slice of pie will do me just fine and actually, I'm kind of surprised that you gave me your home address because, dude, what if I was some sort of serial killer who preyed on people off Craigslist? You'd be totally fucked right now! Not that I'm a serial killer or anything! I swear I'm on the up and up- you can even check, my last name is Stilinski and I mean, my dad is a Sheriff. Oh man, I'm sorry, I have this tendency to like, ramble, you should just ignore me." Stiles smiled at Derek and rubbed the back of his neck, clearly feeling awkward. Derek hadn't been listening to a word he said, too focused on trying to divide his attention between that mouth and those hands. There was a too-long beat of silence before Derek realised that it was his turn to say something.
"You wanna come in? We don't have to leave for another couple of minutes." Derek wondered just how old Stiles actually was, because he was beginning to feel a little weird about being attracted to someone he had to fake date- someone who didn't look a day over 20 at the most when he himself had just turned 27.
"Yeah, okay, if you're sure you don't mind." Stiles responded, shoving his hands in the pockets of his hoodie. God, he looked like the epitome of a college hipster- black framed glasses, plaid shirt underneath his jacket, beanie slouched on top of his messy hair, skinny jeans that Derek really, really shouldn't want to unzip with his teeth. Derek stepped aside, allowing Stiles to breeze right into his apartment like he'd been there thousands of times. He walked through to Derek's small living room area, gently running his hands over everything he passed without seeming to notice he was even doing it. Normally Derek hated it when people did that, touched his things like they had the right to, but Derek figured he should cut the guy some slack seeing as how he was paying him -albeit in food- to be his fake, gross boyfriend. And he kind of wanted to put Stiles' fingers in his mouth. God, this was weird.
"So, I know you gave me a quick run down on what you wanted me to do in your email, but did you wanna talk, like, specifics before we got there?" Stiles looked over his shoulder at Derek from where he was positioned at the window in his living room.
"Sure." Derek said, determinedly not looking at Stiles' ass. Stiles turned around then, staring at Derek expectantly and, again, Derek realised that he should be the one talking right now.
"Uh, you don't have to physically fight my family, first of all." Derek scratched at his arm even though it wasn't itchy, picturing Stiles getting into a fistfight with Cora and grimacing. He would lose. He would lose, badly.
"If you're worried about me getting hurt and like, suing you or something, don't worry cus I actually throw a pretty good punch, and my dad made me take a whole bunch of self defence lessons when I was younger."
"No, I kind of just don't want you hitting anyone in my family." Derek replied sourly. Stiles looked abashed, his cheeks reddening.
"Right, of course, oh my god I'm sorry. I don't, like, want to punch your family, just so you know. I don't want you thinking I'm some psycho who places ads on Craigslist just so he can punch random people in return for food, I am so not that person."
Derek didn't reply, unsure of where to go from here. Who was this guy?
"Anyway," Stiles continued, clearly an expert at bulldozing over awkward moments. "Where do you stand on the whole PDA thing? Cus obviously you wanna sell the whole 'I'm definitely dating an asshole' thing, but some people are uncomfortable with actually like, touching? I won't do anything you don't want me to, obviously." Stiles smiled at Derek from across the room, seemingly completely at ease despite the face that they were having a discussion about fake dating each other to prey on Derek's family's emotional stability. Fuck.
"Uh, nothing too over the top, I guess." Derek hadn't even thought about that. He'd been too busy imagining the look of abject horror on his mother's face when Stiles would -as per their agreement- announce his undying hatred for Michael Buble over dessert.
"Sure, sure, of course. Maybe if they're getting suspicious a little peck on the cheek or something. We'll play it by ear. So what are your parent's political leanings? I have a Fuck Republicans t-shirt in my backpack that I can wear."
Of course you do, Derek thought tiredly. "No, they're democrats. Very open-minded. I'm pretty sure wearing that t-shirt would only endear you to them."
"Right, and we don't want that." Stiles said cheerfully, bouncing on the balls of his feet.
"No." Derek replied, not quite believing himself. He opened his mouth before Stiles could start talking again, anticipating his next question. "You can hit on my friend, Erica, while we're there. She's in on it. She'll think it's hilarious." Actually, Erica had insisted that Derek make Stiles openly flirt with her in front of everyone. She said it'd be a win-win because it'd make Boyd jealous and therefore more likely to finally make a move on her, and Derek's parents would be horrified.
"Oh cool!" Stiles was enthusiastic, and Derek could feel something like lead pooling in his stomach.
"Don't hit on my sisters, though." Derek warned hastily, suddenly glimpsing into the future and seeing Stiles with a broken nose, or worse. "Trust me."
"Got it, sister's are off limits. Anything else?" Derek shook his head and went to grab his coat, checking that he had everything he needed.
"We should go now, it only takes twenty minutes to get to my parent's house but they like everyone to be early. I've already made sure we'd be forty five minutes late."
Stiles whistles appreciatively and nods. "Good thinking, man." He claps Derek on the back as he passes him towards the door and Derek feels jarred. Stop crushing on the guy you hired to torment your family, you absolute fucking headcase, he thought angrily to himself as he locked his apartment door behind him.
"So what do you do, anyway?" Stiles enquired amiably as they made their way over to Derek's Camaro, positioned towards the end of the car park outside his building.
"Architect." Derek replied gruffly, determined to put as much space as possible between him and the man next to him, which was really counter-intuitive, considering that they had to pretend to be in a long-term relationship in less than half an hour.
"Man, that's awesome! You any good?" Stiles asked teasingly. Derek wondered if he could tell Derek was uncomfortable.
"Good enough." He replied shortly. He was good, too. Good enough to have his own company. Derek felt strange about telling Stiles though; it sounded too much like bragging. There was yet another moment of awkward silence before Stiles spoke again.
"I'm a receptionist. Temporarily. Turns out it's harder than I thought to get a job with a degree in library sciences. I'm a book nerd, in case it wasn't like, immediately obvious?"
Derek didn't reply, suddenly overcome with the image of Stiles in a sweater vest, kindly pointing old women towards the romantic fiction section of the library. It seemed to be some sort of habit of Stiles' to say self-deprecating things about himself when things were getting awkward. He shouldn't be like that, Derek thought grouchily, watching the man in front of him stop short in front of Derek's car, obviously admiring it.
"Dude." Stiles said emphatically, gesturing towards the Camaro, eyes bugging. Derek fought down a smirk, happy to have impressed Stiles, no matter how trivial the cause. He took the opportunity to skim his eyes over Stiles' form as he passed him to unlock the car. There was something graceful in his frantic gestures, something enticing about his frenetic energy. Derek wanted to make him still, just for a moment. Just to appreciate.
They both slid in, buckling their seat belts, Stiles muttering under his breath about Derek's car the entire time. If Derek made the engine purr just a little louder than usual, if he sped out of the carpark just a little faster than he should have, well. No one but him would know, anyway.
"Right, so. This is what you want me to bring up, and remind me if I've forgotten anything," Stiles breathes in and Derek is absolutely not distracted by the pucker of his lips as he switches into second gear. "Vegetarianism, how photography is literally so easy a baby could do it, because Laura's a photographer, right? Um, Michael Buble, Obama or like, politics in general I guess, and how organic products are ruining this country's economy. That all of it?" Stiles beats out an unintelligible rhythm on this thighs and Derek suddenly realises that he'd much rather be taking Stiles out for coffee right now rather than encouraging him to be an asshole to his family. It's way too late now.
"Pretty much." he replies, probably sounding like a sulking child. But he still wants to give his parents a little payback, and Stiles is the only way to do it, and he's clearly more than happy to participate. Derek is going to have to get over his baby crush. Immediately.
"And I know Erica isn't related to you, and neither is Boyd- do they normally come to Thanksgiving with you guys?" Derek could tell that Stiles was trying to be polite, didn't want to intrude.
"I've been friends with Erica since we were in diapers, really. Her parents moved to New Mexico about five years ago and she stayed here. It's easier for her to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with us. She's not that bothered by it. Boyd's over this year because Erica wants to get into his pants."
Stiles laughs and Derek feels as if he's been punched in the gut. He tries to focus on not crashing the car.
"Man, your house is like, huge. I think I saw something similar to it on a show about haunted houses once. Is your house haunted? You can tell me, I'm totally into that stuff." Stiles was practically vibrating in his seat as Derek pulled up in his parent's driveway, suddenly feeling incredibly apprehensive about this whole thing. This would be much easier if Stiles was pock-marked and fat, Derek grumbled internally.
"It's not haunted." Derek said shortly.
"That's a shame." Stiles sounded genuinely disappointed, and Derek took a moment to reevaluate his life choices, because the kind of guys he was attracted to now apparently included 'a bit spastic and really into ghosts'.
"You ready?" Derek asked, and it was more like he was questioning himself, really, because a slight sheen of sweat had formed on his forehead and he felt a little bit like we wanted to vomit.
"Dude, I was born ready." Stiles answered in an over the top macho voice. Derek reminded himself of the time his parents had tricked him into going on a blind date with the Matheson's son, Patrick, by telling Derek that he was meeting them for dinner. He hadn't been meeting them for dinner, obviously, and had found himself covered in the neighbouring table's fettucine carbonara twenty five minutes after he'd arrived. Screw it, Derek thought as he stepped out of the car and was greeted by Laura's shrieks as she ran down the porch steps and barrelled into him. They totally have this coming.
"Everyone, this is Stiles." Derek said, trying to look every part the devoted boyfriend as he stood surrounded by his parents, his sisters, and Erica and Boyd. Stiles doesn't even say anything, merely tips his chin up as if to say "Sup. I'm a complete douchebag." Everyone had already been introduced to him, but he didn't look like he cared in the slightest. Derek can tell Boyd already doesn't like him.
"It's lovely to meet you Stiles, Derek's told us so much about you." Talia said warmly, reeling him in for a hug and glaring at Derek behind Stiles' back is if to say "You most certainly did not tell us all about this man, and why, exactly, haven't you?"
Of course, Derek had called a few weeks ago, after placing the ad, to tell his parents that he'd be bringing someone, but had purposefully not gone into details.
"Yeah, uh, nice to meet you too." Stiles replied, managing to convey that he actually did not find it at all nice to meet Derek's parents, and would much rather be literally anywhere but here. Derek was in awe. Stiles had made the transition from his usual peppy demeanour to a taciturn and sour individual so seamlessly that even Derek was almost convinced by the act. Even the plaid shirt we was wearing, which once looked somewhat dorky but harmless, now made him seem dirty and unreliable, somehow. Everyone was gathered in the hallway, having shed their coats and shoes and- and there was a hole in Stiles' sock, his big toe sticking out of it like an unwelcome guest and there was no doubt in Derek's mind that Stiles had done it on purpose. Incredible.
"Alright, come on." Derek said, eager to move this along. He really wanted this day to be over, suddenly. He led everyone towards the large living area, pulling Stiles along by the hand with him. He let go as they both flopped onto the couch together, and Derek clenched his fingers a few times in an effort to shake the sudden feeling of pins and needles that had overtaken him.
"Are you a vegetarian, Stiles? I made extra tofurkey just in case you were. Derek didn't respond to any of my emails asking him about it." Talia threw a pointed glance in her son's direction, which he chose to ignore.
"Oh, God no. I love meat. How could anyone ever be a vegetarian?" Stiles snorted, resting his arm on the back of the couch, bracketing Derek against him. He tried not to blush like a little schoolgirl.
"I'm a vegetarian." Cora said darkly from her position in the armchair opposite them, curling her fingers menacingly into the fabric.
"Oh really? Sorry." Stiles responded blithely, not sounding sorry at all. Derek glanced over at Erica, who looked like someone had just given her ten thousand dollars and a lifetime's supply of red lipstick. He was in so far over his head.
"We'll be eating soon. Anyone want a drink?" Laura asked a little desperately after the silence had become suitably awkward enough that the only way to dispel it properly was to offer everyone alcohol.
"Beer." Derek said immediately, realising that he was only going to get through this day by drinking copiously.
"Me too." Stiles added, as Laura walked towards the kitchen. There was a resounding chorus of requests thrown towards Laura's back as she opened the fridge and Derek thought Good. I hope they're suffering.
"Are you even old enough to drink?" Cora snarked from her curled up position in her chair.
"I'm 23. Plenty old enough." Stiles replied easily, winking at Erica while Derek pretended not to notice. Erica grinned, white teeth flashing in the warm light. He saw his mother's eye twitch.
Derek took this opportunity to stare at Stiles for a moment. That was definitely something that devoted boyfriends did, right? Stare at each other? He figured that if he was never going to see Stiles again after today he may as well commit that unbelievable face to memory. He wondered briefly if he would let Derek kiss him -just for show, just to sell it- but quickly tamped down that dangerous idea. Best not to go there.
Stiles was chewing with his mouth open at the dining room table and Derek was tipsy and so, so gleeful. No one had said anything in -Derek checked the clock sitting behind his father's head- almost exactly twelve minutes. Stiles' quarter of an hour diatribe on the history of the male circumcision had left everybody, surprisingly enough, stunned into absolute silence. Derek could feel Stiles' knee pressed against his own, and he willed himself not to do something idiotic like kiss his stupid, perfect mouth. He stifled a disbelieving laugh as he made eye contact with Erica over the table. A resounding success the look between them seemed to say.
"So, Stiles." Erica said, gently placing her cutlery on her plate and leaning towards him. Derek couldn't tell whether she was emphasising her cleavage on purpose or not. Boyd frowned. "Do you like photography?"
Stiles snorts and rolls his eyes. "A literal baby could do it, I really don't see what the big deal is." Laura clenches her wine glass so tight that Derek thinks it's going to break.
"Do you even know how difficult it is to get a good shot? A lot of thought goes into this stuff, and-"
"Oh, sure, because it's not like people are literally making money from their Instagram accounts right now or anything. Seriously, how hard can it be?"
"How hard-" Laura starts to shriek, and Derek actually cowers a little, because an angry Laura is a violent Laura and a violent Laura usually results in grievous bodily harm.
"Let's settle down a bit, shall we?" Derek's father interrupts benignly, clearly desperate to keep the peace. "Who wants seconds?"
Stiles is already leaning over the table to help himself to more yams.
"And, I mean, HE'S SO OVERRATED. He's not even that good! And his face annoys me! His smug, smug face. KENNY LOGGINS. Now THAT'S a man who can SING. Michael Buble should be outlawed." Stiles concluded gleefully, slurping down the last of his beer noisily.
"Mom loves Michael Buble." Laura said, sounding just a little too calm. "He's literally playing over the stereo right now." Derek notes to himself a little hysterically that she has a death grip on her butter knife. Stiles makes a pretend retching noise and smirks.
"AND FUCK OBAMA!" Stiles exclaimed dramatically, throwing his arm out and knocking over a near-empty glass of red wine. Everybody but he and Derek -who was trying so, SO hard not to laugh- winced as it spilled over the white tablecloth, but nothing is said. "FUCK OBAMA AND HIS STUPID POLICIES." Stiles shrieked gleefully, sounding every bit the awful, drunk boyfriend Derek had wanted him to be. Cora looked just about ready to throw down, and it was just as Stiles belched loudly, reaching for more turkey, that Derek realised he could never actually date Stiles, because everyone already thought they were together, and they hated him. Shit.
Erica was halfway through explaining why exactly she hated her boss, Mr. Whittemore, so much when Stiles abruptly pushed his chair back and stood up. He wordlessly made his way into the kitchen and out of sight, as everyone silently stared at his now empty seat.
"What is he doing?" Cora asked menacingly.
Derek shrugged happily and continued cutting his turkey into bite sized pieces. Muffled bangs could be heard from the kitchen, but no one moved to check on what was happening. Derek supposed it was shock. A few minutes later, and Stiles emerged, brandishing the single most garish cocktail that Derek had ever seen. It was bright pink. It had a tiny umbrella sitting in it.
Stiles sat back down next to Derek, slurping noisily on his drink as if nothing had happened, seemingly unfazed by the seven people staring unblinkingly at him.
"What?" he asked, eyes wide. Derek knew for a fact that his parents didn't keep tiny cocktail umbrellas in their house.
Derek was standing in the bathroom, trying to figure out if there was a way to ask Stiles out after the day was over and not seem incredibly creepy, when a perfunctory knock interrupted him. He didn't feel like talking to anyone at the moment. "Uh, I'm just- washing my hands." he called out a little desperately, trying to put off whoever was on the other side of the door.
"Good, then that means I can come in." Stiles replied, and Derek could hear the smile in his voice. He opened the door before Derek could protest, quickly shutting it behind him and leaning back against the wood. He exhaled loudly.
"Dude. Your family are like, the nicest people ever and I feel like such a douche bag right now."
Derek blinked at Stiles through his reflection in the mirror.
"No, seriously, they're trying so hard to be good to me even though I literally told your vegetarian sister to 'suck it' as I bit into a piece of turkey twenty minutes ago. What did they do to you, man?"
Derek was frozen. How did he even respond to that? Suddenly all of his reasonings for getting Stiles to do this seemed so petty and immature and stupid and Derek really, really didn't want Stiles to think he was any of those things. Derek wanted Stiles to say yes to going on a date with him, and Derek wanted Stiles to make a good impression on his family so it wouldn't be weird if he brought him around for Thanksgiving next year as his actual boyfriend.
There was another knock on the door, and Derek nearly jumped out of his skin.
"Occupado!" Stiles sang cheerfully, leaning against the door with more force.
"Dessert's ready, Stiles. Do you know where Derek is? I thought he was in the bathroom." Erica's voice was hard to make out because it sounded like she was trying to whisper, but before Derek could do anything, could even think about doing anything, Stiles whipped the door open and pulled Erica inside. It was an incredibly tight fit.
"What the fuck!" Erica yanked her hand out of Stiles' grip and tried to regain her footing.
"Okay seriously, please tell me that I'm not being the single biggest jerk in the history of jerkdom by tormenting your family." Stiles pleaded with Erica. His eyes seemed to become even bigger than they already were. Derek could feel himself falling into them a little bit.
"What are you talking about? Aren't you the one who placed that ad on Craigslist in the first place? I thought you wouldn't have a problem with this. You didn't seem to have a problem with this." Erica folded her arms and Derek was impressed by the fact that Stiles' gaze didn't once fall to the ample cleavage she was now all but shoving in his face.
"Yeah, but, I don't know, I figured your family would be a bunch of bigoted assholes or something, because why else would you get someone to torture them like this? They're really nice, Erica!" Stiles was practically shrieking. Erica rolled her eyes.
"They're just getting taught a bit of a lesson. They interfere in Derek's love life way too much. I love them, but they kind of have this coming. You're going to put them off ever setting Derek up with anyone ever again and it'll be so worth it. And they'll get over it eventually. You're not destroying their lives, Stiles, seriously."
Stiles seemed to feel marginally better after that, nodding slowly and giving Erica a small smile.
"Was that it? Or do you have something else to unnecessarily freak out about?" Erica demanded, but she had her hand on Stiles' shoulder and Derek could tell she wasn't mad.
"No, no. Sorry. I'm being so unprofessional right now." Stiles shook his head, and both Derek and Erica snorted because, seriously, what about this situation screamed 'professional'?
"Shut up, you know what I mean." he mumbled. Erica huffed, patted the top of Stiles' hair and promptly exited the bathroom without another word.
"Sorry dude." Stiles winced. "I didn't mean to be weird. I just started feeling really bad cus like, I really like you-your family and they all seem so cool-"
"It's fine, Stiles. Don't worry about it. I'm the one who's paying you to do this-"
"In pie, dude. You are not a monster holding a bunch of cash over my head and forcing me to do this. I'm the one who placed the stupid ad." Stiles laughed.
Derek smiled at him, allowing himself to imagine that they'd met under different circumstances, that Stiles was actually his boyfriend, that Derek was allowed to kiss him.
Fuck Craigslist, he thought bitterly.
"Oh my God, I am so sorry." Cora said, completely deadpan, as Stiles looked on in horror at the red wine currently soaking into the crotch of his jeans.
"Cora," Derek growled, unreasonably annoyed that there was a wine stain on his fake-boyfriend's pants.
"Oh, ew." Stiles made a face, unable to look away from the horror scene in from of him.
"Derek, give him a change of clothes." Derek whipped his head around to glare at his mother who, to her credit, was trying valiantly not to laugh.
"Come on, babe." Derek ground out furiously, hauling Stiles to his feet and dragging him towards the staircase. The second the two of them left the dining room Derek heard everyone erupt into laughter, and Stiles grimaced.
"Definitely had that one coming." he mumbled, rubbing his soaked hand on the side of his pants as they climbed the stairs. They were already ruined, no reason to hold back now.
"They're being jerks." Derek said through gritted teeth, unable to make himself let go of Stiles' wrist. He opened the door to his old bedroom and reluctantly let go of Stiles, searching for a pair of sweatpants in his chest of drawers. Finding some, he turned around and was met with Stiles bashfully trying to pretend like he wasn't just checking out Derek's ass. Derek bit down a smile.
"Here." He said, handing the pants to Stiles and exiting the room before he did something stupid, like fuck him into his mattress. A minute later and Stiles was back out in the hallway, wearing Derek's pants and holding his ruined pair of jeans.
"We'll soak them in the laundry, see if we can't get the stain out." Stiles nodded and began to follow him back downstairs, but grabbed Derek's upper arm before they were even halfway down. Derek turned his head, wondering what was wrong.
"I really like your family." Stiles said lowly, frowning like he desperately needed Derek to understand what he was saying. Derek's stomach lurched happily.
"Feeling's mutual." he said gruffly, not trusting himself to impart anything beyond that just for the moment for fear of making himself look like an idiot.
Stiles beamed at him and Derek felt like a drowning man.
"Glad we got that out of the way. We'll talk about it after." Stiles declared, placing a smacking kiss to Derek's cheek, flushing slightly.
"Who the hell even eats organic anyway?! Hippies, that's who. Absolute waste of money if you ask me." Stiles said around the straw in his mouth. He was sucking the dregs of his second cocktail up like a man dying of thirst and his cheeks were hollowed and Derek had been staring for two straight minutes. He'd never felt jealous of an inanimate object before, but he was definitely getting there. He heard Cora mutter darkly "We didn't ask you." across the table but ignored it.
"You know, Derek's father and I are the owners of a small organic produce store in town." Talia replied lightly, spearing a piece of apple pie on her fork and chewing ferociously on it.
"How quaint." Stiles didn't even look up from his plate to answer her. Derek didn't know whether to laugh or cry. What he did know, however, was that Stiles is a big believer in buying organic food if you could afford it, and that he makes his dad eat it all the time. He knew, because Stiles had told him so on the ride over here. Derek had never regretted anything more than answering that ad on Craigslist, but could also not be more grateful for it. And why was Stiles STILL SUCKING ON THAT STRAW? He was losing his mind.
Without warning, Laura made a noise somewhere between a growl and a hysterical scream and jumped up from the table, cheeks red with fury. She stalked out of the room only to return a moment later holding Stiles' soaking wet jeans in one hand. She didn't stop when she arrived back in the room however, and continued through, marching into the kitchen. There was a brief pause, in which everyone looked at each other quizzically before scrambling to follow her. Just as everyone stumbled through the doorway, Laura turned on the garbage disposal and Derek saw his life flash before his eyes.
"Laura, honey, what are you doing with Stiles' pants?" Talia asked tentatively, slowly walking towards her daughter with her hands outstretched.
"Why, mother, I'm putting them down the garbage disposal." Laura replied cheerfully, slowly inching them closer and closer towards the gurgling metal. Stiles whimpered from somewhere behind Derek.
"I don't think you can do that, darling." Derek's father piped up next to him.
"AND WHY NOT?" Laura responded, her voice reaching levels of shrillness that Derek hadn't actually thought existed until now.
"Because it would break the garbage disposal." Talia said calmly. In his periphery, Derek saw everyone nod.
Oh my God.
"Good, I hope it does. We can get Stiles to pay for it! I think he can afford it, seeing as how he saves so much money not buying organic food and all. Maybe he can raise the money by making a profit off his FUCKING INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT."
"Oh my God." Stiles whispered, horrified.
"Put down the pants, Laura." Derek said slowly, not quite sure of what he would accomplish by asking, but determined to try anyway.
"Don't put down the pants, Laura. Shred 'em!" Cora called triumphantly from the back of the group. No one but Derek's mother had moved an inch since tumbling into the kitchen.
"Laura! Don't you dare put my boyfriend's pants in the goddam garbage disposal, what the hell is wrong with you?" Derek blurts, grasping at straws.
"What's wrong with me? What's wrong with him?! He couldn't be a shittier person if you paid him!" Laura yells, gesticulating wildly and nearly missing hitting herself in the eye with Stiles' jeans. Derek freezes involuntarily, just for a moment, but Laura catches it and Laura's always been too smart for her own good.
"Oh my GOD DID YOU ACTUALLY PAY HIM?" Derek swears he sees the glass cabinets vibrate.
There was a resounding silence as everyone but Erica and Stiles turned to look at Derek, and if that wasn't a dead give-away, Derek didn't know what was.
"I, uh. Um."
"Holy shit!" Laura screams.
"Holy shit." Derek's father repeats.
"Holy shit." Stiles hisses frantically.
"But Derek, honey, I don't understand why you couldn't have just told us that we were overstepping. You didn't need to go and hire some stranger for some…some elaborate ruse." Derek frowned at the confused and hurt expression on his mother's face. He felt exasperated and very, very sorry.
"But I did tell you. Plenty of times! You just didn't listen! And look, I'll admit that getting someone I've never met before to pretend to be my boyfriend so I could teach you some sort of lesson was probably a little bit ill informed, but I was desperate and really tired." Derek felt like the world's worst son. He was also incredibly distracted, because he was sitting in the living room alone with his parents, which meant that Stiles was alone with everyone else, and, knowing his sisters, probably about to be ritualistically sacrificed.
"Son, I'm sorry that we made you feel like you couldn't talk to us. We want you to know that you can always come to us with how you're feeling and not be judged. We'll stop interfering in your love life, but know that we only did it because we care so much about you."
Derek smiled gratefully at his father, and kissed his mother on the cheek, feeling impossibly thankful that his parents were so…the way they were.
"Anything else you need to tell us, honey?" Talia said, smiling warmly. Derek hesitated, just briefly, before deciding that today had already been a massive fuck up, and he couldn't exactly make it worse.
"Yeah, actually. I think I'm going to ask Stiles out."
"So I wasn't just imagining you checking me out all day, right?" Stiles looked at him with those impossibly large eyes as they stood alone in the kitchen, and Derek found himself, not for the first time that day, craving honey.
"No. Definitely not."
"I really like you. Which is weird, because I was convinced you hated me at first, what with the eyebrows and all." Stiles laughed, relieved.
"Wait, what eyebrows? What do you mean?"
"Oh, you know. The eyebrows of doom thing that you do. Where you frown and look like you're about to snap someone's neck and then drink their blood or something. Do you not know that you do that? Cus it's terrifying."
"I didn't know it was that bad." Derek said, self consciously brushing his fingertips over his eyebrows. Stiles reached out to stop him, and circled Derek's fingers in his own.
"It's not. It's actually kind of cute once you get used to it." They stared at each other for a moment, both unsure of what to say, until Derek blurted out:
"Go on a date with me."
"Yes! I mean, okay, yes, that'd be really nice." Stiles blushed, running over his words. "This day turned out so much better than I expected, you know. I thought your sister was going to castrate me."
"Oh God, both of them."
"D'you wanna get out of here? Let me take you home, at least, if you don't want to stay. You can keep my sweatpants, seeing as how Laura kind of…"
"Eviscerated my jeans by dropping one of the legs in the garbage disposal in her haste to tackle you to the ground for, and I quote, 'Being a total fucking moron'?"
Derek gulped. "Yeah." He prayed that Stiles wouldn't look in the sink, because the corpse of his jeans was still lying in there.
Stiles smiled brilliantly and nodded. "I'd appreciate that. But I want to do one thing first, before we leave. If that's alright?"
"Anything." Derek said a little too sincerely.
"Hi, everyone, um. I just wanted to apologise? For today? I'm leaving now but I want you all to know that I actually think you're all really nice, wonderful people and Derek's super lucky to have you all and I didn't actually mean a word of what was coming out of my mouth especially the stuff about Michael Bublé, Mrs Hale, I really love Michael Bublé and I wanted to, I don't know? Um, clear the air I guess and apologise again for all the stuff I said and hopefully you're not too mad at Derek and you can all still salvage the day once I'm gone and seriously, I don't even like Kenny Loggins? I have no idea why I said that I did. And Laura! I love photography! I think it's amazing that you do that, and I did a photography class once in my freshman year of college and it was hell, okay, so seriously I'm so in awe of you for pursuing it and being good at it and I swear to god I don't think that taking pictures on Instagram is equivalent to what you do. Mr and Mrs Hale, I buy organic food all the time. I think it's really important, actually, and I make my dad eat it a lot because it's better for him and I think it's amazing that you own your own business, and. And Cora ohmygod I was a vegetarian for three years before I became anaemic okay and I had to stop. And I love Obama! I really do! Um, anyway, I- I just didn't want to leave and have you all think that I was some kind of awful Republican, Michael Bublé hating, carnivorous monster, so. This is me, saying, emphatically, again, I am so sorry."
Stiles wrung his hands in front of him nervously as everyone stared at him. There were about two seconds of silence before Laura started laughing. Great, heaving, barks of laughter that startled everyone else into smiling at Stiles and looking pretty forgiving, given the day's events.
"Don't worry about it, honey. Thank you for apologising but it's really not your fault. Derek's the one who hired you. You were just doing your job, I suppose."
"Oh, no. He was paying me in pie." Stiles blurted out, immediately regretting it when he saw the look on Derek's mother's face. Talia sighed deeply and shook her head.
"Take Stiles home, honey. We'll talk later about how I raised you better than that."
"Better than paying my fake-boyfriend in food? I don't think you did, mom. I don't think you prepared me for this kind of situation at all." But Derek already had his hand fisted in the back of Stiles' shirt and was making for the exit.
"Bye, everyone! I'll be back later!"
"Sorry again!" Stiles called over his shoulder, still feeling immensely guilty but somewhat cheered by the fact that Derek's parents at the very least seemed to forgive him for being a complete jackass. And Erica seemed pretty cool. Boyd definitely hated him, though.
"So. Crazy day, huh?" Stiles laughed awkwardly as Derek dropped him off outside his empty apartment. Scott, unlike Stiles, had actually been able to afford to come home for Thanksgiving and was therefore not at home.
"I gotta be honest with you, I really did not think that things were going to turn out that way." Stiles shuffled his feet, opened his mouth to say something else but was cut off by Derek suddenly leaning into his space.
"Shut up, Stiles." Derek's breath ghosted over Stiles' face, and Derek gulped.
"Right, yeah. Shutting u-" Derek pressed his lips against Stiles', and suddenly, everything slotted into place. Stiles desperately gripped onto the front of Derek's henley, and Derek thanked every deity he knew for somehow making Stiles land on his doorstep.
The following Christmas, as Stiles and his father sit around the Hale's gigantic, glistening Christmas tree with everyone else, Laura hands him a present and smirks. There's a handwritten note tucked into the ribbon that reads "Still wasn't my fault, actually. Love, Laura." Stiles rips into the packaging eagerly, still opening his gifts the same way he did as a child. He feels Derek's warm presence beside him and beams as he holds up his new pair of jeans.