While Derek Hale had technically come out as bisexual in his junior year, it wasn't until Stiles saw him at the movie theater one day, pressing a dark-haired man against the wall with his entire body and the two of them kissing like they were trying to devour each other, that Stiles actually believed it.
His first reaction was far from the feigned ignorance it should have been, which meant he squeaked and dropped his tub of popcorn hard, spilling it everywhere. Kernels immediately rolled across the floor for a mortifying minute, leaving shiny butter trails in their wake until half a dozen of them finally came to a rest against Derek's boot.
Derek and the vaguely-familiar other man both looked at him in annoyed embarrassment, and Stiles wished he could disappear.
"He-ey, guys. Hi. Sorry." Stiles took a rocking step backwards, one foot ready to run while the other stayed stubbornly frozen in place. "Maybe not the best place for that, though? I mean, you are at the movies. Plenty of perfectly good empty theaters around here."
"Stilinski," Derek said, voice flat and intimidating. Well, usually intimidating. It was hard to feel threatened when Derek's lips looked soft and red and loose rather than pressed into a thin, impatient line.
Red. Red from kissing, and kissing someone else with stubble, too, from the look of it. Stiles couldn't wrap his mind around it.
"Right. Um, I'm…gonna go get more popcorn," he said, and then fled, crunching popcorn underfoot as he went.
He did not get more popcorn, and instead bemoaned the loss of fourteen dollars when he panicked and left the theater entirely, movie still unseen.
Scott was sometimes oblivious, but not even he could miss the fact that Stiles had ditched him at the theater, leaving him stranded without a ride home. Stiles was sort of expecting the call when it came, and come it did about four hours later, when he was elbows deep in dish water. He answered it with a sigh, careful to shake the soap suds from his hands first.
"You've reached the Stiles, please leave a message after the—"
"Stiles, what the hell?" Scott interrupted, sounding baffled and slightly shrill, but not nearly as annoyed as Stile had expected considering he'd probably had to bike home. "Did you have an emergency or something? Is your dad okay?"
Stiles felt a twinge of guilt, which was quickly smothered by reassurances from his often-ignored self-preservation instinct.
"Nah, man, nothing like that."
"Then what the hell?"
"Well." Stiles swallowed, his throat clicking audibly as he idly drew patterns across the countertop with one damp finger. "You'll never guess who I ran into when I went to buy popcorn. And by ran into, I mean they were making out with some dude in the hallway."
"Shit, was it Lydia?"
"No, worse. Derek Hale." Stiles waited for a reaction, but Scott was silent on the other end. Stiles felt like he maybe wasn't fully grasping the situation. "I totally interrupted his face sucking session with someone who looked ready to put out right there against the wall. He's going to kill me."
"Stiles, he's not gonna kill you. I know he's not your biggest fan—"
Understatement. Derek hated him, full stop, because of that time Stiles dropped hydrochloric acid on his new boots in chem. lab. And that time Stiles was attempting to moonwalk across the parking lot, tripped, and scratched Derek's sex-mobile. And the day after that, when Stiles tried to make amends by bringing him some homemade muffins, and Derek was apparently allergic to the pinch of cinnamon he'd thrown in as an afterthought.
Stiles was so dead.
"—but he's still not going to kill you. He had your back with the Jackson thing, remember?"
Oh. That was fair; if everyone knew only two things about Derek, one was that he was that he was the gorgeous middle child of the Hale family. The other was that he hated bullies, and had stomped Jackson Whittemore into the ground after Jackson threw Stiles into the pool in freshman year and caused him to chip a tooth on the low dive board.
Stiles ran his tongue over the chip; the damage was fixed now, but the motion was still a habit and a reminder. It helped, because the truth was that Derek probably wasn't going to kill him. What he might do, however, was vindictively overrule every great idea Stiles had at next week's student council meeting, and that was nearly as bad.
Stiles thunked his head against the kitchen cabinet, and ignored the handle that dug into his cheek.
Scott just sighed.
Stiles never saw much of Derek at school outside of student council meetings and the occasional lacrosse practice where they briefly shared the bench, but that was only to be expected when they were two years apart. As a result, Stiles had never thought to avoid Derek either, and he was greatly regretting that fact when Derek came stomping towards him on Monday morning, just seconds after Scott disappeared to go lock up his bike.
Stiles considered making a break for it, but he'd seen Derek's legs during lacrosse practice, even admired them in a thirsty-but-clearly-still-pining-for-Lydia-Martin way. There was no way he'd be able to outrun him.
Stiles did the next best thing, and plastered a forced smile on his face before tentatively wiggling his fingers in greeting.
"Hi Derek," he said, loudly enough that some of the students sitting on the steps nearby jumped, and at least one of them shot him a glare over their now-spilled coffee. The volume was half on purpose; Stiles felt like he might need witnesses for this.
All of that was moot, however, when Derek simply said "Stilinski" back, and then proceeded to pull him inside. Stiles considered making a show of struggling, but Derek's hand on his arm was gentle, more guiding than dragging, and that was surprising enough that he didn't. Surprising that Derek, captain of the lacrosse team with muscles upon muscles and a near constant frown, could be gentle.
Stiles didn't want to break whatever spell had come over him, and so he let Derek pull him into a nearby boy's restroom. It was only when Derek dropped his arm and started testing the stalls and looking for feet in each of them that Stiles snorted, because talk about paranoia.
"Dude, chill. The only people here this early are overachievers and athletes, and none of them are spying on your potty break."
Derek shot him a very unimpressed look.
"This conversation should stay private," he said, and the emphasis placed on 'private' heavily implied that he thought Stiles wasn't really capable of that without a reminder. Stiles bristled.
"What conversation? All you've done so far is be creepy in the bathroom."
Derek looked almost amused at that, his lips twitching upwards slightly, which was new. Stiles had been trying not to look at his mouth—an urge which was not new—but at least now he had an excuse to stare.
He was probably too obvious about it, because the frown came back all too quickly.
"Stilinski," he said, sharp enough that Stiles snapped out of his daze. "I need you to…not tell anyone. What you saw on Saturday."
Stiles stared for an entirely different reason.
"Come again?" Stiles may not know Derek very well, but he never seemed like he was ashamed of who he was interested in. Hell, he'd come out during his candidate speech when he was running for student council president, and then dared people not to vote for him; Derek was fearless.
Derek didn't look fearless at the moment; he just looked young, and like he was growing more impatient by the second.
"Marcus," Derek said, seeming reluctant to spit the name out, "is older than me. It wouldn't look good for him to be dating a high school student."
Stiles narrowed his eyes; he wasn't a cop's kid for nothing, and sometimes "buzzkill" was his middle name.
"How much older?"
"Not much. College. He goes to Chico State."
"Wait." Something clicked, a rapid fire realization of Marcus obviously being Derek's boyfriend rather than just a make out buddy, followed by the reason he'd looked so familiar. "Marcus Mendiola? The pitcher for the Wildcats?"
Underneath his scowl, Derek looked slightly alarmed that Stiles had recognized the name. Stiles wasn't surprised by the reaction; "not much" to Derek clearly meant "twelve years," and "college" clearly meant "non-traditional student, old enough to concern my parents." No wonder he was worried.
Stiles sighed, unsure whether he should be grateful or not that his dad had dragged him to all those CSU baseball games in the spring. On the one hand, baseball with his dad. On the other hand…situations like this.
"You don't half-ass things, do you?" Derek glared at him in response, a clear signal to stop talking, possibly forever. Stiles ignored it. "That's a big age difference, dude."
Derek crossed his arms, leather jacket creaking, and then made a harrumphing noise like the old man Stiles sometimes suspected he was.
"Don't lecture me. It's not like you wouldn't do the same thing if a hot college student was interested in you."
That was probably true, but it was also widely known that Stiles had poor impulse control and shouldn't be used as a basis of measurement.
Derek was looking sort of prickly, though, so Stiles didn't mention that.
"Relax, dude; I'm not going to tell anyone." Well, the Marcus Mendiola aspect, anyway. He'd be talking for days about Derek corralling him in the bathroom. "But, you know, maybe you should consider threatening a few other people? You guys weren't exactly discreet."
"I'm not threatening you," Derek argued, and then he paused. "What do you mean 'not discreet'?"
"You guys were making out in a hallway, in the only movie theater in Beacon Hills. I don't think I'm the only one who noticed. If people don't ask you about your boyfriend today, I'd be really surprised."
Derek stiffened, face slackening in shock like it hadn't occurred to him that other people besides the three of them had been in the theater. A tense minute followed where neither of them said a word, and Stiles took that as his cue to go.
"Well, I'm outta here—"
Derek snagged him by the back of his hoodie before he'd taken two steps. Stiles exaggerated his attempts to pull away, making gagging noises and wildly flapping his arms.
Stiles froze immediately. Derek had never called him anything other than "Stilinski," and he'd never used that quiet, serious voice with him either.
"I need you to date me."
Stiles flailed backwards and nearly fell on his ass, stopped only by Derek catching him. They stayed pressed together for a brief second, and Stiles wondered if he should be hyperventilating; Derek was so warm, his chest firm against Stiles's back while his jacket zipper dug into his shoulder blade, and the sensations made it impossible to figure out what he'd actually meant. It couldn't be how it sounded.
Derek rocked him back on his feet and stopped touching him, and Stiles was finally able to think. It didn't clear up his confusion at all.
"Run that by me again?"
A muscle twitched in Derek's jaw, and he tucked his hands into his obscenely tight jean pockets, then pulled them out again.
"I need you to be my boyfriend. If anyone asks." Derek's eyes flickered to the floor, then back to Stiles's no doubt gaping face. His expression was almost earnest. "I don't get to see Marcus much, but my parents would be cool with me going out to hang with you. They like you."
What the hell. Stiles had met Derek's parents exactly once, under really terrible circumstances. He was surprised they remembered his name.
"So…pretending? Not, like, actual dating?" Stiles asked, and he cleared his throat, then cleared it again. It was like he had something caught there, all of a sudden.
"Yeah." Derek smiled at him, just slightly, and it felt like someone had grabbed Stiles's lungs. "Not forever, just until the semester is over. Just…I'll call you, and you can show up when we go to the movies, or a club or something. So people can see us together."
"Should I be concerned about that, since all of your dates apparently happen in poor lighting?"
The smile slipped from Derek's face, replaced with his much more normal scowl. It was a huge relief.
"Are you in or not?"
"And what would I be getting out of this?" Stiles asked, waving between them and meaning the entire situation, where Stiles was supposed to awkwardly third-wheel it on months of dates with Derek and his older boyfriend, all in the quest to get Derek laid. He wasn't even sure what to call it, actually, this opposite of cock-blocking. Cock-guiding? Cock-abetting?
Derek sighed like Stiles was getting on his last nerve.
"Look. You like Lydia Martin, right?"
Stiles scoffed and had to correct that. One did not simply like Lydia Martin.
"Um, love. Love would be the term."
"I'll introduce you."
Stiles was about to say that was a stupid thing to offer because he obviously already knew Lydia, but he clicked his mouth closed before the words could escape.
He might know Lydia, but she had never tried to know him. She at least deigned to interact with Derek, due to lacrosse and his innate model-level hotness. Theoretically, she might want to meet his boyfriend. Be friends with him, even.
It was perfect.
"Yeah. That…that could work," Stiles finally said, trying for cool and missing by a mile. Derek rolled his eyes.
"Good. Give me your number."
For once, Stiles didn't argue with him.
By the time Stiles came out of the bathroom, Scott was already waiting for him at their table. He looked up from his math book, a barely-there nod of acknowledgement as he frantically tried to cram both studying and breakfast into the next half hour.
Stiles sat down, feeling a little dazed. He watched Scott take a bite of cereal. Chew.
"You know," he began, and Scott inclined his head to show he was listening. "I think I'm sort of dating Derek Hale."
Scott choked in shock, and then spit half-chewed cereal all over the quadratic formula and the table, narrowly missing a passing teacher.