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Ode to Coffee Shops and Tired Werewolves

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Stiles prided himself on The Orient Expresso being a safe space for all his customers. He tried to keep the environment friendly and peaceful as well as efficient. And after the first year slog of barely breaking even and sometimes actually sleeping behind the counter when he opened late at night (for his fellow insomniacs when his part-time hires couldn’t make it), he was doing well.

He had his regulars; Mrs McAuley (who had been trying to set Stiles up with her daughter since he started the shop), aforementioned daughter, Abigail, who looked mock-affronted every time he stuttered out excuses not to go out with her (but then gave an extra-large tip at the end). There was Steve, the hardware shop owner from next door, and his adorable son Riley who Stiles always gave extra marshmallows. Then there was Scott.

Scott was like no other customer in the way that a few days after Stiles had met him, they had swapped numbers and amusing anecdotes and already knew they were bros for life.

Today he’d brought a couple of friends, promising to introduce Stiles to the love of his life and her to the magnificent Stiles and his coffeeshop that Scott wouldn’t shut up about.

“Scotty, my man! What can I do for you today? I’ve been testing out some new experimental muffins if you’re interested. Carrots and blueberries and stuff. They’re actually alright”

Scott wrinkled his nose at that as if he could tell Stiles was lying about them tasting alright and wasn’t trying to pawn them off to anyone with a healthy immune system.

The girl beside him followed Scott’s lead and politely declined the muffins.

“Oh, Dude! This must be Allison. This is so great!” He turned to Allison. “I know way too much about how amazing you smell to not have met you yet." That may have sounded better in Stiles’ head.

Allison responded with a look at Scott, who appeared deservedly sheepish. “I like the way you smell, okay?” he mumbled into his shirt.

Allison just laughed, “I’ll have whatever today’s special is, please.”

Stiles grinned. “Cheesecake coffee a la Stiles coming right up, this one does, actually taste better than it sounds, I promise.”

Scott’s freaky inbuilt lie detector seems to agree, and he nods at Allison. Scott orders his usual latte and their friend, who’s introduced as Isaac and has cheekbones that could slice the bread Stiles was making earlier, has the same as Allison.

Stiles relays their orders to one of his baristas, Emily, who goes to the high school in Beacon Hills and can make coffee so well that he’s still not convinced she isn’t some kind of coffee god spending time among mortals to learn the ways of man.

He takes in a few more orders before pulling his apron off over his head and telling Emily he’s taking his break. Then wanders over to where Scott, Isaac and Allison are sitting.

“So, how are you guys enjoying my special?”

Isaac gives him a thumbs up.

Allison smiles at him.“It’s surprisingly good actually, I might have to ask you for the recipe.”

He winks back at her and mimes zipping his mouth shut. “My coffee secrets will die with me, unfortunately for you my friend, though you are welcome to come buy more anytime, I’ll even give you a discount.”

“I think I’ll take you up on that offer Mr Stilinksi.”

“Please, it’s Stiles.” 

Stiles .” Scott moans. “Stop flirting with my girlfriend.” 

Stiles laughs and swats him on the head; as if someone who looks like Allison would go for someone like Stiles . Sadly Stiles can only flirt with people he’s not interested in and has absolutely no chance with, such was the way. “That girl won’t give you up if she knows what’s good for her, Scotty.”

Scott holds out his fist and he and Stiles do their bro handshake that they had ironed out the second time they met each other.

“So, Stiles,” Allison starts, looking over to him when he and Scott had finished. “Why’d you move to Beacon Hills? Most people move out of here, to be honest. And I don’t recognise you from high school or anything though you look around our age.

Stiles’ hands fidget with the hole at the knee of one of his jeans. Might as well give her the whole infodump now so he doesn’t have to explain it later in bits and pieces. “Well I uh, used to live here till I was about ten, but my mom died and my dad wasn’t in a great frame of mind, so I went to live with my Babcia. But I missed my dad, and Beacon Hills is my home so when I turned 18 and knew I wanted to open up a coffee shop with a wacky name, I came back here.” He says it all in a rush, so they don’t have time to feel sorry for him about the dead mom thing, though the pitying looks he gets after tell him the plan didn’t exactly work.

He laughs awkwardly. “But hey, let’s not dwell on my tragic past; I got perfect Polish out of it so who’s complaining?” 

The conversation is then quickly steered toward films and how Stiles should go out with them on the weekend. Isaac said he couldn’t make it, and after receiving an ’abort abort’ gesture from him Stiles decided that Scott and Allison were not the couple you wanted to third wheel with, and told them an (admittedly true) tale about what happened last time he missed making brownies and instead tried to have a social life. Spoilers - angry masses of crying toddlers.

After a good 10 minutes of Stiles wowing everyone with witty anecdotes, his break was almost over and Scott, Isaac and Allison got ready to leave.

“It was nice meeting you Stiles.” Allison said whilst giving him a quick hug. Isaac gave him a nod and a wave after Stiles and Scott did their customary goodbye fist-bump.

 

***

 

The next time Stiles saw Scott he was being half-carried, half-dragged along by a big black dude in a leather jacket. Stiles guessed it was Boyd from when Scott had described his friends in detail while Stiles was trying to make pastry (emphasis on trying , Stiles hated pastry; or more likely, pastry hated him).

“He said it was safe here.” Boyd said whilst putting Scott on one of the more comfortable seats and going over to close the blinds.

Stiles ran his hand through his hair and glanced over at Scott nearly passed out on the seat before turning back to Boyd. “Does he need to be taken to hospital? I’ve got a jeep, I can drive him.”

“No. He’s fine. We just need a place to lie low for a few minutes.”

Stiles peered over at the Batman clock on the wall - 11:36 PM on a Thursday wasn’t exactly peak business hours. He opened the door and switched the sign around to say closed before shutting it again and pulling the bolt at the top.

“Well I don’t know what you guys are into and I don’t particularly wanna, Scotty’s the best, so I trust you’re not all wandering around killing people?”

He looked over at Boyd who nodded.

Stiles clapped his hands, “alrighty then, I’ll ask you no questions and you can tell me no lies.” He strolled over to the coffee machine (Helga) behind the counter. “Pick your poison Boyd, my man.”

“You know my name, how?”

“Scott’s talked about his friends before, I don’t just ramble on about myself for hours.”

Boyd gave him a disbelieving look. “Black coffee. Please.”

Stiles coaxed Helga into working her magic, admittedly as Helga took a while to start up and was quite slow and old, for simple black coffee it would be easier to just use the coffee pot in the back but Stiles needed something to keep himself distracted from whatever shady business his friend was into.

Stiles put a lid onto Boyd’s cup and scrawled his name on the side, which yes, slightly pointless considering Boyd was the only customer, but it was part of the routine.

Boyd had just taken a sip when Scott started to stir. He rushed to him immediately, Stiles stayed where he was, sitting on the counter. 

“Stiles?” Scott slurred when he moved his head up to view the whole room.

Stiles waved at him, “Tis’ I, Scotty my dude.” Scott’s face was still a picture of befuddlement.

Stiles poured a glass of water and walked over to hand it to Scott. Boyd nodded approvingly. Stiles sat back down next to Scott and gave him a tight smile whilst resolutely fixing his gaze on the wooden tiles of the floor to prevent himself from grabbing Scott’s shoulders and shaking him to make him tell Stiles whatever the fuck was going on. He could put on a cool facade of not caring in front of Boyd but he was a curious guy, he was recruited into the FBI after all, but he liked the small town coffee shop life. He only sent in tips about cases he read about if he was extremely bored.

After a few minutes of Stiles’ staring contest with the floor (he was losing) Boyd’s phone pinged and he suddenly shot up from where he was lounging at Scott’s side. Scott jumped up too, the effects of whatever happened before seemed to be forgotten. He gave Stiles a quick hug and Stiles ruffled his hair.

“Well it’s been fun gentleman, but alas, I must open my shop again, soon we’ll be reaching ‘dead college student’ time. Stiles opened the door for them and turned the sign back to open. 

Boyd gave him a grunt that sounded like ‘thanks’ and Stiles waved at them both before turning back into the shop and putting his head in his hands. He couldn’t have a normal life for once?

 

***

Boyd, Isaac and Allison had now joined Scott in becoming regulars at The Orient Expresso. Sometimes together, most of the time any of them would just wander in alone looking in desperate need of caffeine. Stiles happily obliged.

Today though, was a new one.

She had just ordered a coffee when Stiles asked; “So why doesn’t Scott get a leather jacket? Not that he’d suit one anyway but, it’s the principle that counts right? Is he not officially in the ‘gang’? I’m saying gang with inverted commas, I hope you’re all not really in a gang…

She stared at him for a moment then laughed delightedly. “I knew I would like you.”

“Right back at you, Catwoman.”

She held her hand out over the counter to shake. “Erica.”

“Stiles.” He shook it.

“So how’d you know who I was?” she asked after Stiles had given her her drink.

First, the leather jacket (obviously), second, the predatory smirk that from Scott’s description only Erica could have. Third, the self-assuredness that all of the ‘gang’ seemed to radiate as if no one could touch them. Fourth, Stiles was a pretty damn good detective.

“Magic.” He said instead.

“Huh. Cool.” Her phone started buzzing repeatedly and she picked it up. “Derek.” “Yeah,” “coffee,” “ Stiles ,” “duh.” “Yeah alright whatever, love you too dickface”

He coughed into his hand. “Did I um, hear my name there, Erica?”

“Well why wouldn’t I want to tell everyone I’m hanging out with the famous Stiles?” she winked at him. “But I got to run, bye Batman.” She blew him a kiss.

“See you around Catwoman,” he said, almost to thin air as Erica whisked out the door.

‘Famous Stiles’ he mouthed with a smirk at Emily over by the coffee machine, she laughed into the chai tea latte she was making (to the disapproval of the customer).

 

***

 

Erica was now also a regular almost daily fixture at the shop and turned up at least once a week with all the ‘crew’ (Stiles had yet to find a suitable name for the group, they seemed more like family than a group of friends or colleagues).

He was still curious about the mysterious Derek, who Scott had barely touched on in his grand (heavily edited for the audience, Stiles could tell) ramblings about his friends.

What Stiles knew about Derek was this:

  • Scott was scared of him (even though he tried to disguise it as petty anger) 
  • He was incredibly good looking (hearsay from some gossiping mum’s in the cafe)
  • The leader of the group. Though Scott seemed to be slightly bitter about that.
  • Older than the rest of them.
  • A coffee hater?? Why else wouldn’t he turn up with the rest of his posse (nope that still wasn’t it)

If Stiles went on much longer without meeting the man he might have to do some investigating, just to make sure the kids were alright of course. Yes, they were probably all the same age if not older than him but as he fed and watered (coffee’d?) them every day and made Isaac put on more layers than just a scarf when it was cold, he felt entitled to care about them, twas his civic duty. 

So Stiles kept looking after the (team?) he got introduced to Lydia (his new favourite, she hated him but it was fine, he knew they were secretly bonding)

 

The door opened creakily (Stiles really needed to oil it) and Isaac walked in, he yawned and woke Stiles up out of his musings as he shuffled slowly towards the counter, he came to a stop and blinked blearily at Stiles.

“Isaac, when was the last time you slept?” 

“Umm,” He scratched his head “I don’t know… yesterday? maybe? We’ve been busy.”

“Right. Have you got anything you need to be doing right now?” 

He blinked again. “...No? I was supposed to help Scott with uh, something but I think Boyd is, so no not really. Do you need a hand with something?”

Stiles sighed, this boy was too sweet for his own good. “What I need is for you to get some sleep. If you go home now will you be able to?”

Isaac gave him a pained look that said ‘ if I go home now I will certainly be put to use doing something by my kind of father/brother/mafia boss figure Derek in our weird gang culture where everyone seems hurt all the time, please look after me, Stiles ’. Though maybe Stiles was paraphrasing a bit there.

“Right Isaac, come with me” He sidestepped around the counter and took Isaac’s arm to lead him to the room in the back of the shop where employees took their breaks. The room was small and mostly bare with an old green patterned wallpaper that was here when Stiles had bought the shop and most likely 100 years before that. He had never bothered to take it down. There was a microwave and a coffee pot on the side and a grey Ikea couch in the corner of the room. Stiles was proud of that couch, when he bought it he felt like maybe he was actually being a responsible adult and doing something with his life. There was a tartan blanket screwed up in the corner and a couple of mangy cushions. Stiles used this couch for sleeping on more frequently than he’d like to admit, when walking upstairs to his apartment was too much for him to bear or, more likely, he had no other cover for a shift, he berated himself on being too lenient a boss but the kids he hired needed sleep, especially when they had exams coming up! (Nevermind he was only a year or two older than most of them) and at least it was an upgrade from the bedroll.

He patted the couch. “So, Isaac. Lie down.”

“Well are you really sure-” Isaac put up a token protest but Stiles could see in his eyes he was grateful.

“Yep, no bother, happy to have you. Anytime.” Isaac lay down and Stiles got up and began to exit the room. He turned around was about to ask if Isaac wanted a hot chocolate to help him along but he was seemingly already asleep, his soft puffs of breath evening out. Stiles quietly closed the spider-man patterned curtains and grabbed the blanket to lay over Isaac, he was slightly too tall for the couch but he looked peaceful in his sleep. Stiles vowed he would make sure Isaac and the rest of them were looked after as at the moment no one seemed to be doing it. He took one last look at Isaac’s sleeping body and left the room, closing the door silently behind him.

He apologised to the woman waiting and gave her young daughter a free gingerbread to make up for it. The little girl's big toothy smile when he handed it over made him want to do it more often. No, Stiles, you cannot save everyone, and you are not rich enough to give away all your stock for free. This was a mantra he found himself repeating in his head often, but thinking of Isaac in the back, maybe he could save a few.

 

Chapter Text

Isaac woke up around 7 PM. He was rubbing his eyes as he walked into the main coffee shop but he looked refreshed, relaxed. Ready to fight whatever the world was going to throw at him, (which Stiles suspected was a lot).

“Thanks for this Stiles, I um, needed that,” Isaac said whilst twiddling with his scarf.

“Dude, I said no problem, and I meant it, come round any time you need. I live upstairs so if the shop’s not open just ring the buzzer, I’ll probably be in.” He quickly made Isaac a soy milk latte and handed it to him before he could walk out of the shop.

Isaac thanked him and looked around in his pockets for some change before Stiles stopped him.

“No charge.”

Isaac gave him a mock glare and put a $5 bill into the tip jar instead. He gave a quick wave and left the shop. Leaving Stiles to his thoughts and a queue of high schoolers.

Stiles didn’t expect to see any more of the crew (nope not crew) today, he’d seen Scott early this morning just as he was opening and Allison and Lydia had popped in for lunch. Usually (excluding that time when Boyd had practically carried Scott in) they stuck to visiting the shop in daytime hours, Stiles felt they were probably doing something else at night. So it was definitely a surprise when at exactly 3:00 in the morning, Erica and Boyd stumbled in. You may be asking, but Stiles, you’ve been working all day, when did you last sleep? And your answer would be - caffeine. 

Erica’s skin had a sallow sheen and Boyd had purple under his eyes. What was that man doing to them? Not that Stiles could be sure it was Derek of course but he seemed to be where all the arrows were pointing.

“So are you guys here for coffee or my delightful company?”

Neither of them said anything, Stiles pulled out a couple chairs and gestured for them to sit down. “The answer is both if your wondering.”

The silence was beginning to become ominous when Boyd’s stomach rumbled. He started to look embarrassed but Stiles jumped in - “Luckily for you my friends, food is something I can do for you. What are we thinking? If it’s not cake or bread related we can head to the kitchen upstairs.”

Erica gave him a wobbly smile. “Do you mean that?” she asked quietly.

“That you can come upstairs? Yeah, sure, I need to show off my renovations to someone anyway. Really you guys would be doing me a favour.” Stiles may be lying and there are no renovations, but Erica doesn’t need to know that.

“No, not that, well yes that but, do you mean it that we’re your friends?”

“What? Of course, I mean it, I didn’t realise that was in debate, you guys are the best. Now, food, what do you want?” he asked before this could get anymore crushingly heartfelt.

“Noodles?” Said Boyd.

“Right. Good, I do actually have those, Erica, what about you?”

She smiles at him, properly this time. “Whatever you want.”

“Alright, noodles coming up, Catwoman. Follow me, guys.” He points up towards the stairs. “Welcome to Casa a la Stiles”

They pad up Stiles bare threaded carpet stairs and he grabs two pins from his pocket to pick the lock. He’s pretty good at it by now, but Erica and Boyd are emanating an air of confusion so he turns around to explain before they think he’s robbing his own house.

“I lost my key, okay? And I haven’t had time to get a new one cut.”

He’s given twin looks of disappointment. He gets on with picking the lock, it takes a few seconds longer than it should but he’s blaming that on being watched, don’t judge the performance anxiety.

He pushes open the door and waves them both in. He sits them down on some chairs he’d gotten cheap from a thrift store and goes to see what’s in the kitchen.

“What do you two think of stir fry? I’ve got some chicken I need to use up, ooh and vegetables, veg is good for you.”

He looks over to see eyes full of glee. “Jeez, who looks after you lot?”

The weariness starts to creep back into their faces so he cuts it off - “No matter, you have me now.” He raises his hands. “And I’m fucking awesome.”

They mutter quietly to each other as Stiles dances around the kitchen humming. He thinks occasionally they might be laughing at him but he decides to see that as a positive as at least they’re laughing at something; Stiles is going to make these kids so happy Derek Hale won’t know what hit him.

He sets two full plates down on the coffee table in front of them. Nobody moves for a moment and Stiles stares at Boyd curiously, he seems to be waiting for something. Stiles tries nodding at him. They take that as their cue, managing to eat it as quickly as possible but savour it at the same time. Stiles starts writing a mental grocery list, he’s going to have to feed them more often.

They finish up at the same time, putting knives and forks neatly in the centre of the plate. “Well, at least you weren’t raised by wolves,” Stiles mutters to himself.

Boyd and Erica share a look of amusement. Stiles has no idea what's going on in their minds but hey, they're smiling. He takes their plates into the kitchen, piling them into the sink. Footsteps follow him. They both look so earnest it’s scary. “So what’d you think?” 

They’re walking towards him slowly, is this where he gets murdered? Was his food that bad? He’s about to ask exactly this when Erica wraps her arms around him, Boyd too.

“Um, group hug then, that’s cool. Love you too guys.”

Erica nestles further into his shoulder and Boyd’s grip remains tight

He pats them both awkwardly on the back, “Wow I’m not ready for parenthood.”

Erica snorts, though it sounds slightly more like a sniffle, he courteously ignores it. “Sorry mom, you’re stuck with us now.”

Boyd chuckles and Stiles gives a little squawk. Erica pulls away slightly, doubt evident on her face, thinking she took it too far. Stiles playfully swats her. “Do I look like a mom to you Erica? Why aren’t I the dad in this situation?”

She gives him a significant look. “You just aren’t Stiles, that position's taken, sorry,” she smirks, “mom suits you” Boyd nods as if he agrees.

By who?? And they could have two dads thank you very much, heteronormativity is not employed in this house, but he finds he doesn’t actually mind. Stiles edges away from them both slightly and hitches himself up on the side next to sink.

“Right. I’m going to bed, I don’t think I’ve slept in 48 hours, if you guys want to stay you can squidge in with me or take the couch.”

Erica opened her mouth, closed it, then shook her head. “We should probably get back.”

“I’ll wake you guys up in the morning? I need to get up in a few hours to start baking anyway.”

Boyd looked hopeful, he nudged Erica. “Okay, we’ll stay, so will we all fit in your bed?”

Stiles smiled. “We’ll make it work. Just don’t ever tell Scott, he’ll get jealous.”

They make it work. Stiles luckily had a twin bed and for some reason Erica and Boyd arranged themselves so Stiles was in the middle (was medium spoon a thing? If so, he was the medium spoon) Boyd was the big spoon and Erica the little. Boyd's arm was reached over Stiles and clasping Erica’s hand which he found sweet. He was glad they had each other, and for those few hours, before he had to get up, he slept the best he had in a while. He could take an educated guess that Boyd and Erica did too.

His alarm went off at 6:30, truthfully, he normally got up earlier than that if he had to bake but it was nice staying in bed for longer. And he wanted Erica and Boyd to get a few good hours at least. Hopefully, his customers would last on yesterdays bakes. He nudged Boyd, who had managed to somehow move so he lay almost completely on top of Stiles and Stiles legs were tangled with Erica’s. It was strange how completely not strange it felt. He prodded Boyd's arm again when he'd still not moved an inch.

“Dude, cmon, I need to get up.”

“Mnn, sleep” he grunted, but reluctantly moved aside slightly so Stiles could just about manage to scramble off the bed.

“Boyd, not that I don’t want you to have a nice lie in all day, because I do. But didn’t you guys say you had places to be? I don’t want you to, uh…get in trouble.”

Boyd rubbed his eyes then, he looked at Stiles, looked back at Erica lying peacefully in the bed, “Nah, he can fuck himself, we’re staying for a bit… If that’s alright with you.”

“If that’s alright with me? Of course it is! Mi casa es su casa, I’ve got to go but, make sure you say bye before you leave, yeah?”

Boyd had turned over and nuzzled back into Erica, “yeah, thanks Stiles,” He smirks “mom.” he shut his eyes.

Okay then, was this even a joke anymore, who knows? Not Stiles. But anyway, cafe, baking, make coffee, on with the day.

Stiles kept an eye on the stairs most of the morning, he didn’t want Boyd and Erica to escape without coffee and food, wow he had a problem. What if they climbed out the window? Though it was a second-story window so really they couldn’t, but somehow he wouldn’t put it past these people. He was meaning to go check up on them at some point soon. At around 11 Stiles was minding his own business cleaning tabletops whilst there weren’t many customers when Scott came storming up to him, Isaac on his heels. Scott seemed to be sniffing something in the air.

Stiles wasn’t able to get a word in before Scott got out - “Boyd and Erica.”

Stiles nodded. “They're here, upstairs, they may still be asleep though.”

Scott looked like he’d let out a breath of relief. “So they’re fine?”

“Well, they were a bit tired, and hungry, but apart from that.”

Isaac piped up, “Can I uh, can I go see them?”

“Yeah, course dude, doors unlocked, if they’re awake tell them to come down get some food.”

The boy nodded, then turned and rushed towards the stairs.

“So Scottie, how are you? How’s the vets? How’s Allison? Does it smell weird in here? You keep sniffing, I can’t smell anything but you know how everyone gets desensitized to the smell of where they live, which is kind of problematic really, why do we do that? Unless you were living in a place that was really an assault on your senses then I guess it could be helpful, but otherwise? A lso since that one time that souffle exploded in my face everything kind of has a strawberry tint you know? So I don’t think my nose is the most reliable anyway.

Scott just smiled at him. “Nah it smells nice, of… family.”

“Family has a smell?”

“Ugh, not so literally as that, doesn’t matter Stiles,” he said, smile still fixed upon his face “ But yep, I’m good, the vets good, animals still love me, Allison’s also good; we’re going out for dinner later.”

“Fun, want a coffee?” Maybe everyone around him being in loving relationships was getting to him slightly, Erica and Boyd, Scott and Allison, even his dad definitely had something going on with Melissa McCall, he knew Lydia had a boyfriend (though Stiles had been reliably informed he was an asshole) it seemed just Stiles was an odd one out, apart from Isaac, though Stiles felt if Isaac got into a relationship he would have to start threatening people with bodily harm. Scott looks as if he sniff out what Stiles is thinking, so distracting people with coffee was his thing now. Who was he kidding, it had always been his thing.

He’s about start on Scott’s latte when he hears three sets of feet descending from his flat. Erica seems to have repurposed one of Stiles’ hoodies and it drowns her slightly but it makes Stiles’ face twitch into a smile he can’t explain.

Stiles gives them both fist bumps when they get down, then Isaac too because he looks left out. “Who wants to eat? I have croissants!”

Scott gave him a questioning look, “You can’t make pastry Stiles.”

“I didn’t say I made the croissants, I said I have croissants.”

“Emily made them didn’t she.”

“Shut up Scott. I make brownies, we all know where the talent lies here”

Everyones face perks up at brownies, “Nope, it’s breakfast time, we don’t eat brownies for breakfast.”

Erica sighs, “Awww, mom…”

He flips his middle finger at her.

Boyd smirks, “Mom’s mad at you now Erica, you’re not gonna get any croissants.”

“Oh, are we calling Stiles mom to his face now?” Isaac butts in.

Stiles jaw drops. “Guys… oh, whatever, cmon sit-down, I might as well do my parental duties and provide for you all.”

Everyone sits.

Breakfast is sadly a rushed affair, halfway through Erica gets a text, which she ignores, Boyd then gets a text also and, after some silent eye communication with the others (excluding Stiles) at the table, he excuses himself and takes the call outside the shop, Stiles can’t hear what’s going on but he can see the hardening of Boyd's face when he walks back inside.

“I guess our little family breakfast is coming to an end then.”

Boyd frowns slightly and nods.

“Well, kids I’m not one for wasting food so who wants a takeaway?”

They all leave with a paper bag of food and a coffee each. Stiles had tried to force it on them for free but they had all chucked crumpled notes on his table that seemed well worth more than the breakfast. Scott had lightly punched him on the shoulder and said it was for their own benefit since Stiles going bankrupt meant none of them could get coffee here anymore. Which, true.

All in all. Stiles was having words with Derek Hale.

 

Chapter Text

Stiles has realised, in order to have words with Derek Hale, he must first, actually find Derek  Hale. He seems to be having problems with this first step. He looked Derek up first, obviously, Stiles’ google-fu is nothing to sniff at but all he gets is articles about the fire; this, Stiles knows about, his mom had died shortly after but he knows that she and Talia Hale had been friends, Talia had on occasion brought flowers to the hospital whilst Claudia was undergoing treatment. But the articles are from years ago and only mention Derek was a survivor along with his sister Laura. Though Stiles also knows that Laura had been killed a few years earlier.

So, it’s an understatement to say Stiles is surprised when Derek finds him instead. He had been debating digging up contacts of people he’d befriended in his brief time at the FBI before he had decided to leave when a man in a leather jacket stalked viciously into the shop. He seemed to sniff the air, then he just looked plain sad, “What is it with you guys and sniffing?” He muttered under his breath, the guy zeroed in on him then for some reason, then tried to (unsuccessfully) wipe the melancholy expression off his face and resumed his stalking towards the counter.

Stiles’ fingers twitched where they were residing in his pocket, he’s not afraid, Stiles is going to make this man sorry for what he’s done to the kids (yes, Stiles was unashamedly calling them ‘the kids’ now, it was better than using an online thesaurus to look up synonyms for group) also yes, Stiles knows that this is Derek Hale. He’d had an inkling as soon as saw the leather jacket, but apart from any other clues he might’ve gathered, he had some kind of feeling or…intuition that this was him. Derek. And fuck he was attractive. Those gossiping mom’s had not done him justice, but as aesthetically pleasing as Derek’s face and just, general demeanour was, Stiles was not letting the man get away with what he’d done, even though Stiles doesn’t technically know what he’d done, he’s just sticking up for the kids, because they deserve so much better.

Stiles crosses his arms and stands as tall as possible, glaring Derek in the eye, “So what do you have to say for yourself?”

Derek glares back. “In relation to what, walking into a coffee shop? I wasn’t aware that was a crime.”

Stiles groans in his head, it’s going to be like this, is it? “Cut the crap Derek, I know why you’re here, you know why you’re here.” (Stiles has no clue why Derek is here) “So I say again, what do you have to say for yourself?”

Derek frowned.“How do you know my name? And I’ve been told I’m a man of… few words.”

“Well I don’t need a fucking soliloquy, you can use those few words to tell me that you’re sorry for treating the kids like shit.” Derek’s eyebrows became more frowny. “Yes, I’m calling them the kids. And you can tell me that whatever it is you do to make them so sad and sleep-deprived and depressed you’ll stop fucking doing it. I admit to having no fucking clue what you’re involved in, Beacon Hills isn’t some gang violence hot spot, I would know, but it really does not matter. How old are they? 17? 18? God knows why but you’re some kind of father figure to them Derek so you need to sort your shit out! Understood?”

“I don't know how . But as you’ve said, you have no fucking clue what’s going on so what do you know.”

“I know that they care about you, that they want to make you proud, that you shut yourself off from them and they don’t understand why, I don’t know how you managed to become their surrogate father but that’s what you’ve ended up with. And if you don’t know how, ask for help, ask them, ask me, ask someone you trust, communication is key, it doesn’t make you weak. Now, do you want a coffee? My hands need to do something.”

Derek nods slowly as if he thinks sudden moves will set Stiles off again.

Stiles waves his hands in a shooing motion, “Go sit down, I’ll make it.”

Derek sits on the table nearest the counter and openly watches Stiles make him a coffee, Stiles tries not to randomly knock anything over whilst making it, luckily coffee is muscle memory, he could make it in his sleep (a feat he had performed more than once) though he can feel Derek eyes piercing his skin every time he turns around. 

He sets the cardboard cup on the table and sits down opposite, Derek raises his eyebrows at the smiley face drawn there but doesn’t comment, he takes a sip. He smiles slightly and looks surprised, “This is actually…good.”

“I am actually good at my job Derek.”

He has another drink of his coffee, “You didn’t answer my question earlier, about how you knew my name.”

“How about a question for a question?”

“Fine. My name?”

“You look like your mom.” Fuck, he had not meant to say that, at Derek’s wide-eyed look he clarified, “And, uh, Scott’s told me about you before, so I could tell from the general… growliness.” 

Derek was still silent, Stiles pressed on, “So why do you all wear leather jackets? No one rides bikes as far as I can tell, well apart from Scott but he’s the only one who doesn’t wear a jacket, bit counterintuitive if you ask me.”

“They don’t rip easily.”

“Right.” Derek looked down at his hands and didn’t say anything. “Dude it’s your turn to ask a question.” 

“Don’t call me dude, and I was going to ask a different question but… how did you know my mom?” His voice cracks slightly on the last word.

“She was friends with my mom, Claudia Stilinski, you might’ve heard of her?”

“Stilinksi? Like the sheriff?”

“Yep. She died nearly 10 years ago now. Anyway, why have you never come here before? All of the…” he waves his hands about in a motion to signify everyone that probably make him look crazy, “troop, have been coming here almost every day for what? Two months now.”

Derek avoided Stiles’ eyes and found a brick to stare at whilst he spoke. “They seem happier after they come here, I didn’t want to ruin it for them. And troop? Really?”

“I’ve run out of synonyms for gang okay, stop judging. So why-”

“It's my turn.”

“No, you asked me why I called them troop.”

“But-”

“You snooze you lose Derek.”

Derek hmphed but let Stiles go on with his questioning.

“So why do you hang around with all these teenagers Derek? Not that they're not good company of course.”

“You sound like your dad.”

“He’s asked you these questions before has he?”

“That was two questions.”

“Terribly sorry, carry on..”

“They’re mature. And I’ve come to rely on them to.. keep people safe.” He winced slightly as if he had wanted to say something else.

“Why-”

“Stiles.”

Stiles mimed zipping his lips shut.

“So why are you hanging out with all these teenagers, that is, assuming you’re not a teenager yourself.”

“That was a cleverly disguised two questions in one Derek, but being the gratuitous man that I am, I will answer both.”

“I like them, and they need a bit more love, someone’s letting them down in that department,” He pointedly gave Derek a glare. “And I’m 20.”

“Opened a coffee shop at 19.”

“Yes? Something wrong with that?”

“How’d you pay for it?”

“Joined the FBI right out of school, was there for about a year, saved most of the money, decided to open a coffee shop. Had my mom’s life insurance payouts as well.”

“So, why The Orient Expresso?”

“You don’t like the name?” 

“I didn’t say that.”

Stiles could redirect the questioning back to Derek’s life and grill him about his choices but, Derek needed a place to rest as much as the rest of them did, Stiles’ coffeeshop could be that place. He could see the weight of the world pushing down on Derek’s leather-clad shoulders and maybe it was Stiles duty to ease it off a bit.

“Go on then, see if you can do better; book puns work best.”

“To Kill a Mochabird.” He said almost immediatly.

“Derek, I never saw you as a bookworm.”

“That’s a set text in high school…”

“True, but I bet you’re secretly a nerd anyway.”

Derek raised a brow. “Sense and Sensibili tea”

“Is the reason why you’ve never been round because you needed to plan these out first?”

“Yes, you’ve got me, that’s the reason why.”

“Jeez turn down the sarcasm Der.” Derek made a face for a second at that before he schooled it into a neutral expression again.

He kept on going “The Oddystea.” He says with a slight smile.

Stiles snorted.“Where were you when I was coming up with names hmm?” 

“I don’t know, when were you coming up with names?”

“When I was sitting through FBI training wondering what the fuck I was doing there. So a couple of years ago.”

“I was running around after a bunch of stupid teenagers probably. So why were you in the FBI in the first place?”. Stiles was going to ignore that first comment, for now, Derek still had most of his guards up but it seemed like he had pulled a wall down slightly for Stiles, Stiles was going to win this man's trust. And if that required some personal sharing first? So be it.

“Well, I wanted to feel closer to my dad you know? Because he was here being a sheriff and I didn’t see him much, the FBI seemed like the next best thing, and I was good at it but, all those rules and regulations just aren’t for me and I’ve moved back here so now I can see him anyway. He pops around sometimes to get coffee for the deputies if he’s in a good mood, and then I can watch what he’s eating. Someone needs to protect him from diabetes.”

Derek snorted “Must be nice to have someone looking out for you.”

“This is why you need to look after the kids Derek, when you’re old and dying there’ll be someone to spoon feed you.”

“You do realise they are not actually my kids, right? I’m four years older than them.”

“You’re 21? I admit I thought you were older than that dude.”

“22.”

“That’s five years Derek.”

“They’re nearly all 18. And really? I don’t look that old.”

“Don’t worry you’ve still got the ruggedly handsome vibe.”

“Thanks.” He said dryly.

There was a pause, Stiles felt like he should say something to break the silence as they were just staring awkwardly at each other, well Stiles was staring awkwardly, Derek seemed to be trying to subtly sniff the surroundings, his nostrils flaring slightly. 

Stiles wondered if someone had left a dung bomb under one of the seats again but he couldn’t smell anything off, maybe Derek’s nose was just special, come to think of it, Scott’s was as well.

Derek was the one to break the silence, “They’re happy here.” 

Well that came out of nowhere

“They are. You should come round to see them being happy here, get all the fam together.” Stiles is so smooth like that.

Derek abruptly stood up, “I’ll think about it.” 

He turned to head for the door, “You sure you want to just leave Derek? You can join the sleeping in Stiles bed club too, i’ve been told it’s very comfy.” Did Stiles just invite Derek into his bed {yes this is an interrobang they are the best, deal with it} he is definitely losing control of his mental faculties. Derek gives him a look as if he knows what’s going through his head and Stiles knows his face roughly resembles a tomato but he coughs and tries to move on, “Look, what I mean is you look just as tired as they do and you have just as much right to a nights sleep as they do, tell Scott to keep an eye on whatever the hell needs keeping an eye on, he wants to be acknowledged anyway.”

Derek blinks a few times and looks vaguely thunderstruck at Stiles insight into Scott. But he shakes his head, “It’s important, but… I’ll uh, come round again soon.”

Stiles tries to hold back the beaming smile trying to make its way across his features and only marginally succeeds. Derek awkwardly nods at him and walks out the door at a pace that Stiles would call ‘too cool for running but if I wasn’t this’d be a world record sprint’. Stiles manages to shout out quickly “Next time you can actually tell me what’s going on!”

To no one's surprise, there isn’t a reply.

The alpha werewolf who just walked out the coffee shop smiles slightly at the street as he walks. He knows what his puppies mean now.