Stiles groaned as he slowly woke from sleep, his head already pounding with what was sure to be a terrible hangover. To be fair, he was getting over being dumped by his last girlfriend and alcohol really was the only remedy.
When he finally opened his eyes, he was confused for a moment before realizing he was in Scott's room at the frat house. This wasn't an unusual occurrence, but Stiles became a little worried once he realized he was wearing only sweatpants. Not even underwear. He really needed to find out what had happened last night.
Stiles stumbled to the bathroom down the hall, peed for what felt like forever, and finally made his way downstairs to find Scott and coffee. Oh, god. Coffee.
Luckily, Stiles found both in the kitchen.
Scott was sitting on a stool at the island in the kitchen, sipping from a steaming mug of coffee and flipping through one of his text books. He looked up from his coffee as Stiles banged his shoulder into the door frame and yelped in pain.
“Stiles, you're up!” Scott said, observant as ever. “How you feelin'?”
“Coffee,” Stiles replied.
Scott steered Stiles to one of the other stools, sat him down safely, and went to fix Stiles' coffee. Stiles also heard the lever of the toaster being depressed and assumed Scott had popped in some bread for him. If his forehead wasn't attached to the countertop, Stiles would have seen this was, in fact, true.
The thunk of a mug being set down on the counter by his head snapped Stiles out of the almost doze he had been in. He jerked up and blindly reached for the mug before taking a sip.
“Mmmm,” he moaned.
“Your love of coffee is getting a little obscene,” Scott said.
Stiles just ignored him and took another delicious sip of the life giving liquid. Mm, coffee.
A few minutes later, the toaster dinged and Scott got up to fetch it for Stiles. He even put jam on it. Scott was the best.
“So,” Stiles said after he had gobbled down half the toast and was starting to feel marginally human again. “Um, what exactly happened last night? Things get a little fuzzy after beer pong.”
“Yeah, um, well, you just kind of kept going?” Scott said. “Then Tim brought out Jell-O shots, you downed, like, half the tray, and it was pretty much downhill from there.”
“So, did I spill beer all over myself?” Stiles asked, gesturing to his sweatpants. Usually, when Stiles crashed at the frat, he just slept in his clothes. Maybe stripping down to his boxers if it was hot, but never sweatpants.
“Yeah, uh, about that...” Scott trailed off.
“Come on, Scott,” Stiles said. “It can't possibly be worse than that thing we promised never to speak of again.”
Scott just looked warily at Stiles and scratched the back of his neck.
“Oh, god. It's worse? What did I do?”
“Well, at one point you wandered upstairs and we all thought you were just going to crash out somewhere. But, then, um, you came back down and announced you were now 'dressed to impress.'”
“What was I wearing?”
“Nothing,” Scott said after a pause.
“I was naked?” Stiles screeched.
“Well, you had on your socks and a pair of sunglasses, if that helps.”
“Not really, no,” Stile said.
“There was also some sort of dance,” Scott continued.
“Yeah. There was a lot of shaking and wiggling and things...swinging,” Scott added, complete with unnecessary hand gestures.
“Stop,” Stiles said. “Just stop.”
He dropped his head back to the counter, letting out a quiet “ow” as he hit it a little too hard and aggravated his pounding head. And then he thought of something that made his stomach roll.
“Oh, god. Did everyone see?” he asked.
“Yeah,” Scott replied.
“Yeah. Sorry, bro.”
Derek was the president of Scott's frat and the subject of Stiles' epic crush. Not that Derek would even see him as anything other than Scott's annoying friend, but Derek was hot like burning, super smart, and had a crazy dry, sarcastic sense of humor that Stiles just loved. But he had a girlfriend and was the straightest frat boy ever, so Stiles just needed to get over it.
And now he had seen Stiles naked in a decidedly unsexy manner and his life just might as well be over. He was pretty sure if he had ever had any chance with Derek, that was now over. He sighed deeply and finished his coffee and toast. He rinsed his dishes and put them in the dishwasher. (He wasn't a complete heathen.)
“All right,” he said, finally feeling mostly human. “I'm gonna grab a shower and head out.”
“You can stay,” Scott said. “No one cares, you know.”
“I know. It's fine. I just need to head to the library and make some headway on the philosophy paper I've been slacking on. But, dinner?”
“Absolutely,” Scott agreed.
Stiles headed back upstairs and locked himself in the bathroom. He used Scott's shampoo and soap and snagged a towel from the linen closet. He hastily dried off, barely running the towel through his hair and wrapping the towel around his waist. He brushed his teeth with the toothbrush he had left in the medicine cabinet for such occasions. He opened the door to head back to Scott's room, but was stopped by the brick wall that had appeared in the hall. Stiles slowly lifted his head, dreading what was happening.
“Hey, Derek,” Stiles drawled.
“Stiles,” Derek said. “I see you found some clothes,” he added, pointedly eyeing the towel Stiles was wearing.
“Oh, yeah. You know, I didn't want to drive all you guys into a jealous rage over my rockin' bod.”
“No, we wouldn't want that.”
“Well, see ya,” Stiles said trying to escape.
He headed back down the hall to Scott's room, completely aware of Derek following way too closely.
“Can I help you with something else?” Stiles finally asked, his hand braced on the door jamb to Scott's room.
Derek stared at Stiles for a minute, the tops of his ears turning red for some reason.
“I.... Never mind,” Derek finally mumbled, before turning to walk away.
“Derek,” Stiles called. “What?”
“How much do you remember about last night?”
“Um, not a whole lot,” Stiles admitted. “Scott filled me in on the highlights, as they were.”
“So, you don't remember what happened after the song and dance routine?”
There was a song, too? What the hell?
“Um, no,” Stiles said, getting worried he had totally insulted someone or everyone. “Derek, what happened?”
“Well, you wouldn't leave and go put clothes on and eventually someone shoved you at me. So, I tossed you over my shoulder and carried you up to Scott's room.”
By the time Derek finished his story, Stiles' face was buried in his hands. He could not possibly be more embarrassed.
“Derek, I'm so sorry,” he said.
“It's fine. We've all been there,” Derek replied.
“Still, thanks, I guess. For getting my ass to bed.”
“You're welcome,” Derek replied.
“Okay. I'm gonna put some real clothes on now,” Stiles said.
“Sure. See you later.”
Stiles closed the door behind him, feeling like he was still missing something. He hated that feeling. He swore to himself (for the hundredth time) he would never get as drunk as he had been last night again. It just didn't solve any problems. He dressed in a hurry in a set of spare clothes he kept in Scott's dresser. Once clothed, there was nothing else to do but head to the library and get to work.
Five hours later, Stiles was finishing up the last of the readings for his essay when a memory from last night suddenly jumped to the front of his brain, clear as day.
“Oh, shit,” he muttered to himself, throwing his things in his bag, the memory playing on repeat.
“You're the best,” Stiles slurred as Derek helped him into a pair of sweatpants. He stroked his hands down Derek's stubbled cheeks. “I know you don't like me very much, but I think you are the bestest.”
“So you've said,” Derek replied.
“I mean, you're super hot and super smart and you laugh at my jokes. I see you trying to hide it, but you laugh. You should laugh more. You have a really great smile.”
“Go to sleep, Stiles.”
“Can't. Socks off,” he said reaching for one foot and almost falling off the bed. Derek just pushed him back and pulled off his socks. “See? The best.”
“Good night, Stiles,” Derek said pointedly.
But Stiles' alcohol-riddled brain would not shut up.
“You deserve better,” he continued. “She's totally cheating on you. Like, with your frat brothers even.”
“And who do you think is better?”
“Me,” Stiles said, his eyes slipping closed as he buried his face in Scott's pillow. “I'd be good for you. Make sure you have fun sometimes and aren't always such a... such a sourpuss.”
Stiles vaguely heard Derek sigh deeply before turning off the light and closing the door.
Stiles ran across campus, back to the frat house. He owed Derek a huge apology. He turned the corner just in time to see Derek's girlfriend stomping down the sidewalk, a murderous look on her face. Stiles ducked behind a row of hedges, like the coward he was, and waited until she sped off in her little sports car to approach the house.
He walked in without knocking and found Derek in the kitchen, his hands clenched around a mug of still steaming tea. Derek didn't drink coffee.
“Derek?” Stiles said hesitantly. “I'm so sorry. I remembered what I said to you last night and I really shouldn't have. I'm so, so sorry.”
Stiles paused, still hovering in the kitchen doorway, unsure if he should stay or go.
“I knew,” Derek said eventually. Stiles took that as his cue to stay and joined Derek at the table. “I knew she was cheating on me. But, we'd been together since freshman year and breaking up is always so messy. To be honest, I was kind of hoping she would dump me first so I could avoid this whole feeling like absolute shit thing.”
“I'm sorry,” Stiles said. again. He wasn't sure if there was anything else he could say.
“Oh, well. Not your fault,” Derek said. “Well, not entirely.”
“Ha ha,” Stiles said flatly.
“Nothing to do now but move on.”
“I agree. Shall I get the whiskey?”
“Nah,” Derek replied. “I was thinking more along the lines of taking you to dinner.”
Stiles just stared at Derek. He couldn't have possibly heard what he thought he heard.
“Can you repeat that?” he asked. “It sounded like you said you wanted to take me to dinner.”
“I do,” Derek confirmed.
“But... You just broke up with your girlfriend like five minutes ago. Literally. And you're straight. Plus, to top it off, you don't even like me.”
“We've been over for months,” Derek insisted. “We just acknowledged it today. And I've never said I was straight. Plus, I like you just fine, Stiles. You're smart, loyal, and funny, loathe as I am to admit it. You just weren't an option.”
“I just.... Wow. That's a lot to process. So, you're bi?” Stiles asked.
“Yes,” Derek replied. “It just never mattered because I was in a relationship.”
“And now that you're not in a relationship, you want to date me?”
“Okay,” Stiles said, shaking his head at this completely unexpected turn of events. What he was about to say next could make or break whatever this thing with Derek might be. “Can you, like, ask me again in a month? As much as you insist it's been over for awhile, you just broke up today. I can't say yes, yet. I can't be your rebound, Derek.”
“You wouldn't be a rebound, Stiles,” Derek insisted.
“Then you can wait a month. If you still feel the same, ask me again, and we'll see.”
Derek just smiled and took a sip of his tea.
The next month was an interesting one for Stiles. Derek suddenly seemed to be everywhere. He was waiting outside Stiles' chem lab with a mid-morning coffee break. He was there at the frat house, making Stiles' favorite snack to get him through a late night study session with Scott. He was in the library, giving Stiles pointers for presentations with professors he'd had in the past. He was in the stands at the intramural lacrosse games Stiles played in on the weekends. But he never asked Stiles out again.
It was weird. It was almost like Derek was wooing him. Wait. Was Derek wooing him? How serious was Derek about this whole thing?
Then the day came. Stiles wasn't even aware he'd committed the date to memory, but as he woke one morning he was greeted with a startling clarity that it had been exactly one month since his conversation with Derek in the kitchen. He was suddenly both dreading and eager to see what Derek would do today.
Nothing. There was nothing. No Derek waiting with coffee or just walking him to his next class. Stiles was... disappointed? He had been expecting something, but there was just nothing. He hadn't really realized it until that moment, but over the last month Stiles had really fallen for Derek. The crush he'd had on Derek since forever had turned into a true affection. He wasn't quite ready to call it love, but it could be. He'd really gotten to know Derek over their time together. He knew how seriously Derek took his studies (very); how much he loved his family (a lot, even though he pretended they annoyed him); how deeply he cared for all the boys in the frat (again, a lot). He was so funny and caring and ready with a quip or sarcastic comment when Stiles needed it. He really was the perfect person for Stiles.
But, apparently Derek had changed his mind. Stiles didn't know what he had done or said, but he dearly wanted to make up for it. Then, the more he thought about it, the angrier he got. How dare he? Had this all been a game? He was reaching for his phone and dialing Derek’s number before he could stop himself.
“How dare you,” he said as the voicemail picked up. “Was this all some stupid game to you? ‘Oh, I know how I’ll get over my ex. I’ll make Stiles fall in love with me and then just disappear.’ Well, fuck you, Derek. You don’t get to do this, okay? If you don’t want to do this, if this was all just a joke, you can at least be man enough about it to tell me to my face.”
He pushed the End Call button as angrily as he could and suddenly wished old-fashioned hand sets were still a thing so he could have the satisfaction of slamming down the receiver. Instead, he settled for stomping over to the frat to confront Derek. He would wait all day if he had to, but Derek was not getting out of this.
“Derek!” he yelled, slamming open the front door. He checked the den and the kitchen first, but no Derek. Scott was there, though.
“Where is he?” Stiles asked.
“Who?” Scott asked.
“Derek!” Stiles said, getting more frustrated by the minute.
“Um, in his room, I think.”
The look Scott gave him as Stiles turned to head upstairs made him pause for a moment. What was going on? Was Derek sick or something? Is that why he hadn’t been around today?
Stiles slowly pushed open the door to Derek’s room, unsure as to what he would find or even what he might say at this point. He was suddenly very confused about this whole thing.
The confusion was lifted, however, when he saw Derek standing in the middle of his room surrounded by (electric) candles and holding a single red tulip. Stiles just stared at him, trying to take everything in. There was soft music playing in the background and a pleasant scent in the air (which to be fair was probably just furniture polish, but it was still nicer than the usual vaguely funky boy smell most rooms held in college). This was, without a doubt, the most romantic thing anyone had ever done for him.
“So?” Derek said with a shrug, looking nervous.
“Yes!” Stiles replied before rushing over and jumping into Derek’s arms. “Yes.”