"Uh, so, just as a warning, your mom might think we're dating."
Derek managed not to choke on his cereal, but it was a close thing. "Sorry, what?"
Stiles collapsed in the chair across from him. "So you know how we were making all those your mom jokes last month—"
"You mean, you were making your mom jokes," Derek corrected.
Stiles carried on as though he hadn't heard him. "And I thought it would be funny to program in your mom's number..."
Derek groaned. "Oh my god, tell me you didn't."
"I could, but that would be lying, and I made a new year's resolution not to lie to you. Well. Not to lie to you so often."
"Fuck. Stiles! Did you drunk dial her?"
"So apparently I'm actually pretty good at typing in coherent sentences when I'm shit faced; who knew?"
"You...texted my mom. While drunk."
Stiles sent Derek a shaky grin from across the table. "Yeah, I mean, I wasn't actually trying to send her a message, though. It was meant for someone else."
Derek pinched the bridge of his nose with two fingers and breathed in deeply. "Who, exactly, were you trying to reach?" he asked. He had an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of his stomach and he really didn't like where this was going.
"You, duh!" Stiles exclaimed, a too-wide smile pasted on his face. "Who else would I want to annoy when I'm exceedingly wasted?"
Derek pressed his thumb and index finger into his eye sockets even as he stretched out his other hand, palm up. "Let me see."
"Give me your phone, Stiles."
"What, no! That has confidential information, I'm not just handing it over—"
Derek dropped his hands and leaned forward in his seat, letting his frown morph into a smirk.
"Hey, don't think you can just turn on the charm and get anything you want, big guy. I'm not that much of a pushover."
"I never said you were."
Derek let his gaze roam up and down Stiles' body. He hoped his smile was more on the flirty edge than the I'm-going-to-kill-you-in-your-sleep version that Stiles was always complaining about, but in this instance the distinction was less important.
Sure enough, Stiles swallowed visibly.
"If you'd like," Derek said, standing up and stalking over to Stiles' side of the table, "I'd be happy to see which pocket your phone is in."
Stiles' pupils dilated, and once again Derek wondered how he'd managed to find the one person on campus who seemed to associate terror and sex.
"I'd say over my dead body, but you sort of have your serial killer face on right now, and I don't want to tempt fate."
Derek's smile widened when Stiles' voice cracked halfway through his sentence.
He leaned closer, letting his fingers drift over Stiles' crotch on the way to his jeans pocket.
Stiles let out a shaky breath, spreading his thighs to give Derek better access, and it was almost enough to distract Derek from his mission. Almost.
"Hey!" Stiles cried as Derek leapt backwards, Stiles' cell phone clutched in his fist, and already entering Stiles' stupid password (fuckoff) into the lock screen.
Derek made a run for the bathroom as he heard the sound of Stiles' chair tipping over. He managed to slam the door shut just before Stiles thumped into the other side.
"Fuck, Derek, give it back, I have shit I don't want people to see on there, and I'm not even talking about the nude pics I caught of you while you were sleeping—"
Derek tuned out Stiles' increasingly panicked babbling as he navigated to the messaging screen.
It opened on a conversation between Stiles and his best friend Scott (labeled in Stiles' phone as Scoot McCute, for some reason), and Derek hastily pushed the back button, but not before he saw Scott's latest text of You need to tell him, dude. :(
He clicked on the second conversation in the list, contact "Source of Hale's Hotness."
me: dude. I'm so drunk
Source: stiles, this is derek's mom
me: I can't wait to have my cock in your ass
Source: stiles, this is still derek's mom
Derek stepped sideways, away from the door, and Stiles tumbled into the bathroom with a squawk.
"Dude, that is so not cool, we need to have a talk about proper boundaries."
Derek handed over Stiles' phone wordlessly. His face must have looked worse than he thought, because Stiles immediately launched into an apology.
"Ugh, I'm sorry, I didn't see the messages until this morning and—"
"My parents don't know," Derek blurted.
Stiles frowned at him. "Don't know what?"
"That I'm pan," Derek replied, staring down at his hands.
"Oh, okay," Stiles said, and he actually sounded relieved. Derek flicked his gaze up to squint at him.
Stiles must have noticed Derek's incredulous expression, because his eyes widened and he thrust his hands out in a placating gesture. "Whoah, no, no, I just mean that it'll be easier to play off as a joke if they think you're straight. Like, my dad would be doing your background check by now if he'd gotten that kind of text."
Derek had assumed that the sheriff had done his background check two years ago when he and Stiles had first moved into an apartment together, but he didn't bother correcting him.
"Seriously, don't worry about it," Stiles said, and this time when he flashed him a smile some of his trademark cockiness had returned. "Frat brothers text each other all sorts of shit."
Derek relaxed minutely, before remembering that he'd left his phone plugged in on his nightstand when he'd gone to fix breakfast. "I should check to see if I have any messages," he said, and ducked past Stiles. He navigated the cramped hallway to his and Stiles' bedrooms, turning right to enter his room.
Sure enough, when he plucked his cellphone off his bedside table, the notification light was blinking back at him.
When he turned on his screen, he had seven new text messages in three conversations and two missed calls.
He pressed on Cora's name as dread started swirling in his stomach.
Cora: Holy shit Der how long have you been fucking the Stilinski kid?
Cora: Mom is flipping her shit
Cora: In, you know, her mom way that involves vigorously scrubbing every surface in the kitchen and passive aggressive sniping at dad
Laura: I can't believe I had to find out second hand.
Laura: No, not even second hand. Fourth hand. Since you didn't have the balls to tell mom and your boyfriend had to do it.
Laura: Congratulations btw.
Mom: can you call me today honey?
"Fuck, fuck, fuck."
"Derek?" Stiles asked, poking his head around Derek's door frame. "Everything okay in there?"
Derek buried his face in his hands and groaned.
"Whoah, okay, that is not a happy sound, I know your happy sounds and this is definitely not one of those."
Derek internally reviewed the difficulties in explaining just how fucked he was in actual words, before giving up and just handing Stiles his cell phone.
"Oh. Well that's...ominous."
"My sisters also texted," Derek added, knowing that Stiles would take it as permission to read those conversations.
He flopped back onto his bed and screwed his eyes shut.
There was a beat of silence, and then the sound of Stiles sucking in a sharp breath. "Oh, shit. Derek, I am so sorry."
"It's not your fault." Well, technically it was Stiles' fault, but it wasn't like casting blame would make Derek feel any better about it.
"Fuck, I'm a terrible boyfriend."
Derek blinked his eyes open, startled.
Stiles' eyes were wide, and he was standing perfectly still, as though that would save him.
"What did you say?" Derek asked, voice quiet.
"It was a joke, okay?" Stiles said. "An unfunny one, apparently, but that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone." He reached up to run one hand through the hairs at the back of his neck, which just kept getting longer since three years ago when he'd decided not to keep up the buzz cut he'd had in high school.
Derek just shut his eyes and tried not to let it sting. It wasn't like he'd ever told Stiles that he might have changed his mind about their "fuck buddies only" policy since they'd started drunkenly groping each other one night seven months ago.
Seven months and twelve days, to be precise. Not that Derek was counting.
"Can I..." Stiles' voice wavered. "Can I make it up to you?"
"I doubt I can get it up right now," Derek said, voice as deadpan as he could make it, but his traitorous dick twitched in his pants anyway.
Stiles crawled up onto the bed on all fours, biting his lower lip and moving slowly towards Derek.
Derek felt his heart speed up. Stiles always worried about looking dumb when he was in "seduction mode," as he called it, but in Derek's opinion, he looked devastating.
"We could just make out for a while, if you'd rather." Stiles grinned. "Or..."
Derek felt himself chub up in his jeans at Stiles' flirtatious smile. "Or?"
"Or you could just lie back and let me do all the work." Stiles waggled his eyebrows.
Like Derek was going to say no to that. "Hmm, let me think—"
"Oh, shut up," Stiles said, his grin spreading, before he sprang up the bed and caught Derek's mouth in a kiss.
Derek didn't let Stiles do all of the work, though.
Derek absently watched the soft rise and fall of Stiles' rib cage and pondered what the hell he was going to tell his family.
Each of his sisters would at least be understanding about the sex-with-a-guy thing. Laura would probably tease him mercilessly about the fact that he'd gone and developed feelings. Cora would just give him shit for it being Stiles.
His mom, though...they didn't really talk much about that kind of stuff.
Derek sighed and extracted his leg from between Stiles' thighs, trying to move slowly enough not to wake him. He pulled on a shirt and the closest pair of boxers he could find before padding out to the common room.
The phone rang three times before it picked up.
"Dee Dee!" Laura cried cheerfully from the other end. "To what do I owe the honor?"
"What do I say to mom?" Derek asked, without preamble.
"Hmm. 'Yes, I'll bring him to dinner this weekend' would be a good start." She sounded way too amused, and Derek stifled a groan. "Is there a reason why you kept it secret for so long?"
Derek frowned. Seven months wasn't that long. "Hey, hypocrite, weren't you dating Chad for two years before you told mom?"
"Chad was a douchebag," Laura said. Derek didn't exactly disagree. "He doesn't count."
"Oh, and Stiles isn't?"
"No, according to Cora, he's an asshole. Big difference."
"We're not even dating, Laura."
"Is that petulance I note?" Laura sounded positively gleeful at this point.
"Sorry," Laura said, sounding the exact opposite. "I always forget what a pussy you are. How long did it take him to make a move?"
"God, Laura, stop," Derek snapped. "He's not my boyfriend, can you please just shut up about it already?"
Laura was silent for a beat, the sound of her breathing loud on the other end.
"I'm sorry, Laur."
Laura just exhaled a long, drawn out sigh. "He may not be your boyfriend, but you should still bring him to dinner."
"Yeah," Derek said, feeling suddenly exhausted. He wanted nothing more than to crawl back under the covers and wrap his arms around Stiles. "I guess."
"Sorry it's not the epic romance you dreamed it to be," Laura said, her voice soft.
"I'll talk to you later, Dee. Say hi to Stiles for me, will you?"
Derek still hadn't figured out how to respond when he heard the click of the line going dead.
Fuck everything. He was going back to bed.
Stiles had wandered into the kitchen in his towel just after a shower, rivulets of water still sliding down his chest, and whined that Derek had used all the shampoo.
"Don't you have your own damn shampoo? Why do you use mine?" Derek asked, feeling a muscle twitch in his jaw.
Stiles had turned bright red, the color spreading halfway down his chest.
Maybe it was the alcohol—he couldn't remember how much he'd drank that night—but Derek had stepped up close to Stiles and reached out to trace the flush with his fingers. The noises Stiles had made in response had sounded obscene.
At some point tongues became involved, Derek had pressed Stiles up against the kitchen cabinets, and Stiles had dropped his towel.
They'd been awkward around each other for over a week, before Stiles came home after class one day, loudly announced "Fuck it," and straddled Derek where he was sitting on the couch with his French assignment.
Since then, it just sort of became this...thing. Stiles tried to talk about it one night when they were lying together, sweaty and spent, in his bed.
Derek had never been good with feelings. Or communication. Or relationships, really.
"Fuck buddies," Derek blurted.
Stiles craned his head to look at him.
"Nothing changes. We're still roommates, still friends. Just, if we're both horny..." He trailed off and turned to try and gauge Stiles' reaction.
Stiles was grinning back at him. "Sounds perfect," he said, and it had been.
It stayed perfect for the first few months.
Since then, though, Stiles had been on two dates, and after each one, Derek had sucked bruises into Stiles' skin and fucked him hard into his mattress.
"S'okay," Stiles said the first time it happened. "I didn't really like him anyway. Not enough stubble, if you know what I mean." He waggled his eyebrows, and Derek despaired, because for some bizarre reason he thought it was adorable.
The second time, Derek wondered if Stiles was just trying to provoke Derek into fucking him roughly again.
As long as Stiles always came home to Derek afterwards, he didn't care.
me: I'll bring him to dinner next Sat.
He then turned his phone to silent and went to the common room, where Stiles was sitting on the couch with a takeaway container of kung pao chicken, watching Supernatural.
"This show is dumb," Derek complained.
Stiles finished his mouthful and patted the couch cushion next to him. "I got you Mongolian beef."
Halfway into the episode, Derek cleared his throat. "I told mom we'd come to dinner on Saturday."
Stiles swallowed noisily and turned towards him. "So how are we playing this?"
Derek shrugged. "Modified version of the truth?"
When Derek looked over, Stiles had one eyebrow raised. He resisted the urge to crack a smile.
"We're friends," Derek said. "And we sleep together. So not...dating. But."
"Not not dating, either."
Stiles furrowed his eyebrows. "Wait, really?"
Derek could feel his cheeks start to heat up, and he kept his gaze firmly fixed on the television screen.
"No, dude, I didn't mean it like that, just—we're not going to pretend to be madly in love or something, to placate your mom?"
Derek rolled his eyes. "That's stupid."
Stiles took another bite, chewing slowly.
"Okay. So we're...sort of dating."
"Are we sort of dating?" Stiles asked. "Like, for real?"
Derek shifted uncomfortably on the couch. "Well, how else would you put it?"
"Friends with benefits?" Stiles suggested. His smile turned wicked. "Pals with perks? Buddies with booty? Roomies plus romping?"
"Just stop," Derek said. "Please. For your sake, if not mine."
"For my sake, huh? Whatcha gonna do about it, tiger?"
Derek tackled him to the couch cushions and shut him up the best way he knew how.
"You're one to talk. I saw how hard you were gripping the steering wheel on the way over." Derek smoothed down his hair one last time before opening the car door. "Come on."
The front door opened before they were halfway up the wooden steps to the porch. Cora slid out from behind the door and moved to lean against the door frame.
"Stilinski," she said, with a curt nod in Stiles' direction.
"Mini-Hale," Stiles said, with a matching nod.
Derek rolled his eyes.
"Hey, Der-bear," Cora said. "Long time no see."
"We have dinner every week," Derek said. He glared at his younger sister, but it seemed to have no effect. She just shrugged and started down the hallway to the kitchen.
"Mom made shepherd's pie and salad," Cora said. "I think there's some chocolate dessert too."
"Sounds great!" Stiles said. His elbow knocked into Derek's as they walked.
Derek cleared his throat. "Is Laura here?"
Up ahead, Cora shook her head without turning to look. "She said she'd be a few minutes late."
They filed into the dining room at the same time that Derek's mom was setting out a large serving bowl of mixed greens.
"I was told," Mom said, looking over at Stiles, "that you don't have any food allergies."
"No, ma'am. Mrs. Hale," Stiles said.
"Call me Talia."
"Yes, okay. I can do that."
Derek pressed down on Stiles' shoulder with his fingertips and guided him to the nearest chair. Stiles sat down with an audible thump.
Derek took the seat next to him and looked up at his mother.
"How was your week, Mom?" Derek asked, launching straight into small talk with the hope that it would settle Stiles' nerves.
Mom shot him a pointed glance, one eyebrow raised. "Work was fine. What I want to know is more about Stiles." She turned towards Stiles, her expression noticeably warmer. "Derek mentioned you're a political studies major?"
"Ayup." Stiles shot Derek a sideways glance. "I'm actually a double major, political studies and linguistics, with a Polish language certificate."
Under the table, Derek felt the slightest brush of pressure against his pant leg. He reached out and circled Stiles' wrist with his fingers and squeezed. Stiles seemed to relax slightly.
"I guess having multiple degrees keeps me from getting bored and flunking out," Stiles added.
Derek let his hand drift lower to tangle with Stiles' fingers. "Shut up, you wouldn't flunk out."
Derek's father poked his head out of the kitchen. "Tal, the oven timer's going off; is it ready to come out or do you need to check it?" He caught sight of Derek and grinned. "Hey kiddo."
"Hi Dad. You remember Stiles?"
Derek's parents traded places as his mom went back into the kitchen and his dad moved across the table from where Stiles was sitting.
"Not real well, but that's more a sign of my senility than a reflection on you." Dad stuck out his hand over the mahogany tabletop.
Stiles had to untangle his fingers from Derek's to shake. "Nice to meet you, Mr. Hale. Err, James."
Behind them, Cora cleared her throat. "Laura said she's five minutes out."
Dad smiled and pushed himself away from the table. "Cora, can you set the table? I'll help your mom with dinner." He winked at Stiles. "Don't worry, the interrogation shouldn't be too bad. We're just glad Derek has someone that makes him as happy as you do."
Derek resisted the urge to smash his face repeatedly into the table.
"Oh my god, Mrs. Ha—Talia. This is so good." Stiles practically moaned around his forkful, and Derek strove to keep his thoughts dinner-table appropriate.
"Thank you, Stiles." Mom set her own fork down and glanced briefly at Dad before turning back to Stiles. "So, are you and Derek…dating?"
Stiles froze, the fork still halfway in his mouth.
"Sort of," Derek said. Five pairs of eyes swiveled to stare in his direction.
Cora asked, "What does 'sort of' mean?"
Laura chimed in, "Yes, Dee Dee, do share with the class."
He could see Stiles flinching in his peripheral vision. "It's," Derek said, then paused. "I like him, but we don't have a...label."
Stiles kicked him under the table. "I like him too. Just FYI. Very much. Me gusta."
"Well, duh," Cora responded.
Stiles shifted in his seat, scooping up another bite onto his fork.
Derek frowned at his younger sister. "What do you mean, duh?" he asked.
"Well, if you want to ignore the ridiculous sex hair," Cora said. Mom shot her a dirty look. "Maybe the constant touching and flirting and longing looks?"
"Cora," Mom said.
"What? It's true!"
"You just look in love, that's all," Laura said.
Derek felt himself flinch. He really didn't want Stiles to freak out on him because of his stupid feelings.
Stiles dropped his fork with a clatter. "Okay, dude, sorry that upsets you and all," he snapped. "But it shouldn't be such a fucking surprise."
When Derek looked over at him, Stiles' eyes widened and the color drained from his face.
Stiles pushed his chair backwards and stood up. "I'm so sorry, Mrs. Hale. Uh. Just, dinner was lovely, and all, and I really wish I could stay, but I don't want to intrude on your family thing, and, I…I should probably. I'm just going to go."
He practically fled the room.
"What are you doing, idiot?" Laura asked. "Don't just sit there!"
Derek stumbled out of his seat and down the hall.
Luckily, Stiles hadn't gone far: he was leaning against the porch railing, staring up into the darkening sky.
Derek shut the door behind him with an audible click, but Stiles didn't move or make any sign that he'd heard.
"I thought we were going with the truth," Derek blurted.
Stiles glanced at Derek out of the corner of his eye. "Weren't we?"
"You said we weren't going to pretend to be madly in love with each other."
Stiles was uncharacteristically silent.
Derek walked over and settled next to him, elbows braced against the railing. "Apparently my family thinks we are."
"Well, it's not pretending if one of us doesn't feel the same way," Stiles said. He wouldn't look at Derek.
Derek felt something like hope bubbling in his chest. He tamped it down. "You didn't finish your pie," he said instead.
Under the porch lights, Stiles' eyelashes cast long shadows against his cheeks, and Derek resisted the urge to reach out and brush his thumb against Stiles' cheek.
But what was the point in resisting?
Stiles' brow furrowed in confusion, but he still leaned into the kiss that Derek pressed against his lips. When Derek pulled back, his expression had turned thoughtful.
They both turned back towards the sky. It was a clear night; faint stars were starting to shine overhead.
"Give me a minute, okay?" Stiles said.
"Sure," Derek said, and headed back inside.
Cora was waiting in the hallway. "Well?" she asked.
Derek felt the corner of his mouth twitch up into a smile. "He'll be okay," he said, and actually believed it.
By the time they pulled up in front of their apartment building, Derek had rehearsed and discarded half a dozen different ways to broach the topic.
(As in most things, Stiles beat him to the punch.)
"About tonight," Stiles said, his hand still resting on the key in the ignition. "I'm sorry I freaked, okay? Like. If you want to stop, uh, whatever this is, I get it—"
Derek leaned over the console and kissed Stiles. When he pulled away, Stiles was looking at him with a puzzled frown.
"Trying to break up with me?" Derek asked. "And here I was thinking I was a pretty good catch."
Stiles lifted an eyebrow. "I don't know, dude, I'm a pretty fine catch myself. I mean. I've got ladies and dudes falling all over themselves to get up on this," he said, gesturing towards his chest.
Derek felt himself frown. "Maybe I don't want to share."
Stiles blinked a few times. He shifted through a myriad of expressions: confusion, suspicion, and dawning understanding, until finally, a sly smile crept onto his face.
"Yeah?" Stiles asked, and his smile was so hopeful Derek wasn't sure how he hadn't seen it sooner.
Stiles pulled the key out of the ignition and looked down at his lap. "You know, it might have been easier if we'd had this conversation before we told your family that we weren't actually dating."
Instead of responding, Stiles got out of the car and walked around to where Derek was still sitting in the passenger seat.
Derek opened the door and swung one leg out. Before he could finish stepping out onto the asphalt, though, Stiles leaned over, catching Derek's face in his hands and kissing him firmly.
When Stiles finally pulled away, he was smiling.
Derek stepped down and shut the car door firmly behind him. "We still don't have to put a label on it, you know," Derek said.
"I know we don't," Stiles said. He reached down to slide his palm against Derek's. "But I want to."
Derek linked their fingers together. "Alright, then, boyfriend, let's go inside." He turned and started climbing the stairs to their apartment.
Behind him, Stiles made a humming sound. "I don't know if I like 'boyfriend.' We'll have to try other titles. Like 'prince of my heart.' Or 'sexfriend.' Or 'that guy I know who has sex with me a lot and I really like.' Maybe that one's too long, what do you think?"
Derek looked back at him. From the stretch in Derek's cheeks, his own grin was just as ridiculous looking as Stiles'.
"You are so weird," Derek said, and pulled Stiles up the stairs after him.