Derek Hale wasn’t the most famous guy, but he was still a very well-known actor. He still has 26k twitter followers and he can’t go to the grocery store without pictures appearing on Tumblr and sometimes US Weekly. Derek Hale had a tight schedule, always filming or promoting something or filming or having dinner with one of his sisters in the few scheduled nights off he could get, or filming. About every month Derek Hale got 400 fan letters that were specifically pictures of people’s mate-marks in hopes that they matched their celebrity crush.
Stiles had to sort through all the mail. He never gave Derek the mate-mark photos because when Stiles had become Derek’s assistant he had been abundantly clear he wasn’t interested. It was two years ago that Derek’s old assistant, Isaac Lahey, left in a screaming fit, but not storming out before referring Stiles as replacement. (Isaac was dating Stiles’s best friend Scott at the time and Scott, bless his dumb face, had made Isaac refer him even though Isaac and Stiles always butt heads.) And now, as Stiles waits behind the camera during an interview, he thinks he should maybe quit. Because, in all honesty, despite the charming smile the actor is pulling out for EW, Derek Hale is kind of a jerk.
The interviewer gave his closing remarks and they thanked each other for being there and someone yelled cut and then Derek Hale was up and storming past where Stiles sat. “Where’s the car?”
Stiles stood and followed behind him, keeping his nose to his tablet. “Already outside waiting.”
“You’re not supposed to have caffeine with this new diet pill you insisted on.”
“Coffee.” Derek repeated, snapping a bit.
Stiles sighed. “You’re meeting Erica and Boyd for lunch. You can order coffee there.”
“Why do I keep you around?” Derek mused, pushing the back door to the sound stage open.
“Good question. You’d forget your own birthday without an assistant, but really, you could hire someone else.”
Derek’s feet paused for a split second before looking over his shoulder at Stiles and climbing into the back of the car. Stiles followed him as Derek scooted to the further seat.
“I thought you were supposed to say something like ‘no one else knows what food to buy you when you’re sick’ or ‘because I can get you to stop working out when you’re on a roll’,” Derek said a bit flippantly.
“Then maybe you already know why you keep me around,” Stiles rolled his eyes, pulling up an email from Lydia, Derek’s PR Manager. Stiles responded with how the interview went, not bothering to ask Derek his opinion. “Erica and Boyd want to ask you about a new movie they’re putting together. Be nice.”
“Be nice,” Derek scoffed. “Right.”
Back when they were nobodies, Derek had really helped Erica and Boyd get their foot in the door. They subsequently screwed him out of a role when Erica decided to rewrite it for a woman, earning Kali what’s her face her first Oscar nom. Stiles persists that had the role been a guy the script wouldn’t have been half as good and the film wouldn’t have gotten any Oscar attention so Derek should stop being so bitter about it. Derek was the king of holding grudges.
“I’m serious, Hale. I looked over the pitch already. You should consider working with them.” Their last film had gotten more attention in the big award circuit, Boyd winning Best Director at the Golden Globes and nominated at the SAG and Academy awards. “They’re big stuff and you’ve been doing action movies for the last 4 years. Change it up.”
“You’re not my agent, Stiles,” Derek snapped, his angry eyebrows making an appearance. Stiles rolled his eyes. It had been a long time since any of Derek’s anger had scared him. The looks of pure outrage were actually kind of endearing. “Don’t tell me what to do.”
Stiles had to laugh at that. “That’s all I ever do. Where to go, what to wear, when to eat.”
“Stiles!” Derek nearly roared. It was actually kind of funny getting Derek riled up when he wasn’t threating bodily harm.
“Look,” Stiles said, actually bothering to look up from the digital planner to catch Derek’s eye. “This semi-feud thing with Erica and Boyd is ridiculous. I may not have been your assistant back then, but I was around and I know that you were really good friends and I can tell that you miss them. Do a project, repair bridges, be in a great film to boost your career, and make lots of money. Or don’t. Alienate yourself from one of the hottest screenwriting/directing pairs in the business, continue doing this spy soldier series that has been done a million times, pray for DC to ask you to be the new Batman but always know you’ll lose it to someone with a bigger name than you. I don’t care.” Stiles went back to his tablet before adding: “Oh, and Scott said that they asked Kira to come on as cinematographer, if that makes any difference to you. She’s probably going to say yes.”
Kira, Scott’s current girlfriend, was phenomenal behind the camera, even if she was big enough she was almost never actually using the cameras anymore.
There was a tense silence in the car as they drove for another few seconds, the driver giving worried glances between the two men through the rearview mirror. Stiles was honestly surprised his little rant hadn’t spurred some kind of intelligible garble of seething anger out of Derek. Normally, when Stiles spoke out of turn, Derek shut him down quick. But today… today Stiles just didn’t care anymore. Zero fucks given.
Maybe he should call Lydia. Ask to be her assistant again, even if it meant a pay cut. The car pulled up to the side entrance and Derek got out. Two seconds later the door opened again, Derek poking his head in. “Aren’t you coming?”
“Reservation is for three,” Stiles distractedly while coordinating a last minute photo op with Caged that Lydia had approved.
The door to the town car slammed shut and Stiles told the driver to bring him through whatever drive through was closest and to order whatever he wanted plus two burgers and a large fries.
“He’s going to snap your neck one of these days,” the driver said with a smirk.
“Let him. Lydia will cut off his balls.”
The driver laughed. Stiles rubbed at his eyes. It was going to be a long day.
Stiles was sitting in the back of the car, munching away on his fries while trying not to make his touch screen greasy when a phone call came in from Lydia. He clicked the button on his Bluetooth and answered with a simple “Stiles.”
“I don’t know what you said but thank you. Erica Reyes just texted me saying Derek expressed interest in doing their film.”
“I didn’t do anything,” Stiles scoffed, pulling up his email and calendar. “But I’ll schedule an appointment between VB3 and Derek’s agent to get the details sorted.”
“I’m serious though,” Lydia said. “He only really listens to you.”
“I don’t know, Lyds. I’m thinking of quitting. I mean, the guy treats me like his butler, which is not my job description. The guy’s an asshole and after two years it’s getting to be a bit much.”
“He’s not that bad.”
Stiles shook his head, even though no one was watching. “Before me, the longest assistant Derek ever had was Isaac, who only lasted six months. He’s a spoiled brat who grew up rich and privileged and stayed rich and privileged and it taught him he can be a jerk to whoever he wants. Dude doesn’t even have any friends since he kicked Erica and Boyd to the curb.”
“Yeah but that may be rectified with this movie.”
“Let’s hope so,” Stiles sighed. “If I leave, Derek will probably lose his head as someone else tries to figure out his schedule.” The driver knocked lightly on the glass between the front and back, indicating that Derek was coming. “Gotta go. I’ll see you at the team meeting next week?” Once a month all of Derek’s industry personnel got together to make sure they were all on the same page.
“Yeah. I’m just thankful Derek doesn’t have any image clearing to work on. I’m all tied up with rebranding Braeden after her accident. She’s too good of an actress not to work just because she’s covered in scars.”
“Good luck. Talk to her agent about getting her some cool sci-fi gig where she’s covered in prosthetics anyway.”
“That’s what I was thinking. Bye Stiles.”
Stiles hung up just as the door opened and Derek slid in. The car was off as soon as Derek had his seat belt on.
“What’s next?” Derek huffed, his arms crossed over his chest.
“Back to the loft. You have to finish packing for New York. Flight is tomorrow afternoon but you have a 5 o’clock call for a night shoot with Criminal Minds. You’ll probably be there ‘til midnight and you’re going to want to sleep in tomorrow.”
Stiles rolled his eyes, looking over the day’s itinerary. He was really kind of getting sick of this. Derek never talked to him. And it wasn’t just Derek was naturally quiet outside of interviews like V. Boyd or super shy like Kira Yukimura or socially cautious and insanely polite like Allison Argent. Derek just didn’t talk to him. Not conversationally. It made being his assistant feel like slave labor instead of employment, as if Stiles wasn’t even a person because Derek was paying him to be there. Derek chatted kindly with the makeup crews and his costars and yelled at anyone who threw off his groove. Derek should be a llama. Would serve him right. Instead, Derek just made Stiles feel like some gnat he had to put up with rather than a quintessential part of Derek’s job and life.
And sure, Stiles may sound narcissistic for saying so, but he needs attention and validation. He’s only human.
It also didn’t help that despite how much of a jerk wad Derek could be, Stiles was irrevocably in love with him.
He was never someone to believe in the birthmarks as something special. Sure, it’s supposed to indicate your soul mate, but before the internet it was near impossible to find your match. Even with dating sites now where people post pictures of just their mate-mark and the database tries to find its match, most people are still of the mind that soul mates are rare and date whoever you want. Like his own parents. Their marks hadn’t matched in the slightest, but they were a perfect couple. And then there’s the famous case that was all over the news seven years ago about a soulmate couple getting a divorce. It didn’t matter.
All that being said, even if Stiles didn’t believe in soulmates, Stiles had never meant to fall for the asshat known as Derek Hale. But for every barking command there was a thoughtful gesture to his sisters. For every bull headed rant there was this private smile when Derek thought no one was looking. It was the way Derek interacted with his fans and anonymously funded kickstarters and publically stood up for women and feminism. Not to mention Derek was ridiculously good looking. It was watching Derek push himself past the limits while working out and needing to stop him before he hurt himself. It was finding the stray notes detailing a story he was obviously trying to write and hide.
But they didn’t outweigh the near abuse of being his stupid PA. Stiles needed out. He needed to find someone to work for who didn’t simultaneously make him want to rip his hair out and jerk off.
In the apartment Stiles sat at the kitchen bar while reading through the Late Night talking points Deaton, Derek’s agent, and the show sent over. He’d have to brief Derek on the plane tomorrow.
“Stiles! Where are my socks!”
“Not your mother!” Stiles shouted back.
There was a pounding of feet down the spiral staircase. Derek stopped halfway through and leaned over the railing. “What the hell is wrong with you today!?”
Stiles just shrugged. It’s true he wasn’t normally this forward in his snark. But it wasn’t really related to Derek. It was the fact his father was undergoing heart surgery and he couldn’t be there for him. Sure, he had Melissa, who was a nurse so it made the situation better, but Stiles still wished he could be there. He was a worrier by nature.
On top that, of he received an invitation that morning to his ex-boyfriend’s wedding. Danny was getting married after finding his freaking soul mate. That breakup had really messed Stiles up. They were really good together but Danny decided to end things because he wanted to try finding the person who was “perfect, not just good”. Looks like he succeeded.
Suddenly his tablet was being ripped out of his hands. Stiles looked up in shock at Derek’s glaring eyes.
“Help me pack or I break this in two.”
“Break that in two and you miss your next ten jobs and interviews at least.”
“Fine,” Derek snapped. “Then I’m hiding it until I’m packed.”
Stiles rolled his eyes and followed Derek upstairs. “You really don’t need my help for this,” Stiles groused. “It’s a three day trip to New York. Your outfit for the Late Night show was already picked out. Even still, Lydia picked out all your clothes so it’s not like you can go wrong.”
“Just find my socks, okay?” Derek sneered, going into the bathroom to… regel his hair. Lovely.
“You don’t need to do that. They’re going to style you for a role in two hours.”
“Shut up, Stiles.”
Stiles rolled his eyes and slid to the ground beside Derek’s bed. There were about ten pairs a socks rolled up and sitting there. Derek always dumped his laundry basket by his dresser and the socks went rolling. He picked one up and chucked it at Derek’s head.
“Jesus Christ! Stiles! Are you trying to get yourself fired?”
“Maybe,” Stiles muttered, straightening his shirt as he stood. “Was that everything? Sir.” He said the last bit as a jab.
Derek just glared and angrily zipped his travel bag.
It was going to be a long day.
Hours later, Stiles sat in Derek’s trailer while the star was filming. It was nearing midnight so he should be done soon. He had been emailing back and forth with Deaton to figure out Derek’s filming schedule for the VB3 movie. Nothing can be set in stone until Derek signs the contract, but Stiles is rearranging things to block off the three month shoot time and move the already scheduled things until later.
The door opened and Derek came storming in, dripping wet and rubbing a towel over his hair. “Fucking bath tub scene. Fully clothed in water. Ridiculous.”
“You read the script before signing on,” Stiles reminded him.
“Ugh.” Then Derek began stripping off his soaking clothes.
Now, Stiles had seen Derek shirtless a number of times. Derek worked out a lot. But, Stiles had never seen Derek without his patch. Even when Derek was fresh out of the shower his towel at least covered the mate-mark. Derek was pretty particular about nobody seeing it.
But there it was, the patch peeling off with his shirt. A deep brown mark, a few shades darker than his olive skin, curved over Derek’s hipbone. It looked like a crescent moon with an X breaking it into 4 pieces. Stiles stared.
“Stupid fucking…” Derek swore as he noticed his patch stuck to his shirt. Then he looked up to see Stiles staring.
Stiles drew his eyes away from the birth mark to catch Derek’s eyes. Stiles raised his hands in mock surrender, swallowing dryly. “Well, I guess this will make sorting those fan photos easier,” Stiles said, gluing his eyes firmly on his tablet. He couldn’t even read the email before him.
That was his mate-mark. Derek had his mate-mark.