The Beacon Daily Roast is Stiles's favorite coffee shop. It's open until midnight on weeknights and 1 a.m. on the weekends, making it perfect for a late night pick-me-up during finals week. The tables are large, which means he can spread out with his books and notebooks and laptop and still have room for coffee and a bagel. They have a huge selection of coffees and teas, which means he can continue to drink something warm when he probably should cut down on the caffeine. The Wi-Fi is free and fast, which is fantastic, considering he can't afford it for his apartment. Plus the seats are comfortable and it's generally pretty cheap, which is great for Stiles's broke-as-fuck student budget.
The single downside to the Beacon Daily Roast is the fact that there are only two plugs in the entire coffee shop. And one of them only works about 50% of the time.
That means there are fights sometimes over who gets to plug
in their laptop when, and Stiles has more often than not been the one guarding
his coveted plug-adjacent table with frankly vicious glee.
However, during finals week, it's every student for themselves, and only the fast and the early are able to get the tables by the outlets. Everyone else has to pray their laptop battery lasts.
Normally Stiles is very good at identifying how early he needs to get to the coffee shop in order to get one of the good tables. However, today he had two finals, one right after the other, which means he's leaving for the Daily Roast about an hour after he normally would. Which sucks, because he desperately needs the Internet in order to take final number three.
At least after this he's only got one more and then he's
home free. He's going to go back to his apartment and sleep for a week.
Stiles pushes his way into the coffee shop, already feeling like he's pushing the limit of what he can handle today. His brain's a little scrambled when he places his order, forgoing coffee in favor of some herbal tea that might calm him down a bit. He also gets a bagel, pays, and then goes hunting for a spare table.
His heart sinks when he sees the plug table is already occupied, by some bearded, bespectacled guy just sitting there with a coffee and a book. Ugh. He hates those people. So selfish; it's like they don't even realize that table could be put to better use by someone who actually needs the outlet.
Oh well. There's not much he can do about it right now. Instead, he grabs one of the smaller tables by the window, settles in, and opens up his laptop to start his exam.
It's not one of his harder exams (thank God) but it is one of the longer ones, and Stiles is only halfway through his tea when he glances down at his battery icon and realizes he has approximately five minutes before his computer will shut itself down.
Shit. Fuck. He can't just stop in the middle of this exam. If his computer dies, it'll go ahead and submit the test for grading, and he's barely halfway through. His GPA will be shot and he'll lose his scholarship and he'll have to drop out and he'll never get into grad school and his dad will be so disappointed and—
Okay, okay. He's overreacting. But he sure as hell doesn't want to explain it to his professor and he doesn't want to retake this exam.
Stiles looks over at the plug table. Bearded Bespectacled Guy is still sitting there, sipping his coffee and reading. All by himself, not even using the plug, not even using a quarter of the gigantic table.
Fuck it. Stiles has three and a half minutes before his laptop dies and he's forced to retake this entire exam—if he's lucky. He slings his bag over his shoulder, grabs his computer in one hand and his drink in the other, and stalks over to the plug table.
He drops everything onto the table and immediately crawls under it to plug in his laptop.
When he pokes his head back up over the edge of the table, Bearded Bespectacled Guy is looking at him with a murderous glare. Or possibly a confused glare. Or maybe both.
This close, he can see that the guy is really fucking attractive, like the level of attractive that Stiles usually requires a two-drink minimum just to talk to. His eyes are pale, kind of green or yellow or hazel or maybe all of the above, his hair looks soft and his cheekbones look like they could cut glass.
Stiles almost swallows his tongue in shock.
"What the hell are you doing?" Bearded Bespectacled Guy asks.
And oh, right. Stiles has just commandeered half his table. He settles into his chair and quickly answers his next two questions on the exam. Thank God, he's still in.
The guy clears his throat. "I said—"
"You're sitting at the table with the only working plug in the whole coffee shop," Stiles says, "and my computer is three minutes from dying and I'm in the middle of an online exam."
"So you just sit down without even asking?" the guy says.
Stiles looks up from his computer to glare, but yeah, the dude is still really attractive. It's more distracting than it should be. "Again," Stiles points at his laptop, "I'm in the middle of a test."
The guy's mouth twists. "And that means you forgo all basic courtesy?"
"Hey, asshole, I'm not the one who took the only outlet table in the whole coffee shop, okay?" Stiles doesn't have the best brain-to-mouth filter when he's well-rested. It's shot to shit right now. "If you don't like it, go find another table."
The guy's scowl gets worse. "Do you see any other tables?"
Stiles glances around and, huh. Looks like someone else claimed his spot as soon as he moved, and there aren't any more open tables in the coffee shop. "Then stay here and I'll buy you an apology bagel when I'm done."
"An apology bagel?" the guy repeats.
Stiles can't parse what his tone means, and he's so exhausted and he just wants to get this done. He puts in his headphones and tries to give the guy another glare. "Look, I'm running on two hours of sleep and more coffee than is probably healthy, and this is my third final today. Cut me some slack, okay?"
Miraculously, Bearded Bespectacled Guy shuts his mouth, and Stiles turns on his music and turns his attention back to his final exam once more. He can do this. He can do this and he will absolutely not get distracted by the hot Bearded Bespectacled Guy sitting across from him, nor will his brain melt out of his ears.
Not for the first time, he wonders why the hell he thought a double major was a good idea. He's going to fry his brain before he's even old enough to legally get into any bars.
At some point during the test, someone sets a steaming mug of black coffee next to his empty tea cup. Stiles blinks up out of his finals-induced stupor to see Bearded Bespectacled Guy sitting back down in his seat, nodding at the mug with a slightly less murderous glare.
Oh. Stiles isn't sure if it's apology coffee or peace-offering coffee, but he'll take it.
After another hour, he finally finishes his exam and turns it in, and stares at his computer in disbelief for a good five minutes because he can't believe it's over. He's going to go home and sleep so hard. Or at least, sleep so hard for about six hours before he needs to get up and cram for just one more final.
But first things first.
He goes to the bathroom, because his bladder is about to explode, and then heads to the front and orders the promised apology bagel—one of the shop's cinnamon bagels, because everybody knows those are the best.
He sets the bagel in front of Bearded Bespectacled Guy, who's almost finished with his book. Bearded Bespectacled Guy raises an eyebrow.
"Apology bagel," Stiles says, like it isn't perfectly obvious what it is. "I'm sorry I crashed into your space without asking. Thank you for letting me finish my exam. And thank you for the coffee. Although I'm not sure I really needed more caffeine. Although that makes me sound ungrateful, and I'm really not, I promise. That was awesome of you."
Bearded Bespectacled Guy's eyebrows climb higher with every word Stiles utters. "Do you ever stop talking?"
Stiles laughs and scrubs his hand through his hair. "Not really? I can't even blame the caffeine. I'm like this ninety percent of the time I'm not asleep. Sorry. I'll get out of your hair. Let you enjoy your apology bagel in peace."
The guy looks down at the bagel and then back up at Stiles. "You don't have to," he says quietly.
Stiles feels like his eyes bug out of his head. "What? You actually want me to stay?"
The guy shrugs, like he's trying to look casual and failing miserably. "If you want."
That's all the invitation he needs. Stiles collapses back at the table and buries his head in his arms. "Oh thank God. Because I'm not a hundred percent sure I'm okay to drive right now and I desperately need to not think for a while."
"Was that your last final?"
Stiles shakes his head into the table. It's a testament to how tired he is that he knows he looks like a complete idiot in front of the hottest guy he's ever met, and he doesn't even remotely give a shit. "One more tomorrow at nine. And it's organic chemistry."
The guy groans sympathetically. "Ugh. I'm sorry."
"I'm not sure if I should pass out at home and wake up early to study, or if I should study until I pass out and then wake up to take the test," Stiles half-mumbles into the table.
"Do three hours on, three hours off," the guy says.
Stiles lifts his head. "Huh?"
"Sleep for three hours, then wake up and study for three hours." The guy takes a bite of the bagel. "Repeat until it's time for your test. That way, you're getting a full sleep cycle in each time you fall asleep. You'll be more well-rested for your test."
"Huh." Stiles had never thought of that. "Really?"
The guy shrugs. "Got me through my undergrad."
"Oh yeah?" Stiles sits fully up and rubs his hands over his face. "I'll have to try that, then. Thanks, uh..."
The guy grins. "Derek."
Stiles sticks his hand across the table. "Stiles."
Derek shakes it. "Stiles?"
His hand is so warm and firm, it takes Stiles a minute to parse the question in his voice. "Dude, my real first name is hard as hell to pronounce for anyone who hasn't had at least a year's worth of Polish."
Derek smiles slightly. "My youngest sister was named after our mom's grandmother. Everyone calls her Cora. It's easier on all of us."
"Someone else who knows my pain." Stiles sighs and looks at the clock on his computer. He doesn't really want to go home and study, but at the same time, if he doesn't get started soon, he won't even make it through half the chapters he needs to before tomorrow morning's final.
His stomach growls.
Derek raises his eyebrows. "You hungry?"
Stiles's cheeks feel like they're on fire. "Um. Yeah. A bagel's the only thing I've had to eat since..." Shit. Since when?
Derek snorts. "Yeah, I remember that face. You know, there's a diner only a few blocks from here, if you want."
Stiles frowns. "If I want what?"
Derek's cheeks turn pink. "If you'd like to go get some dinner."
"What, like together?" Stiles asks.
"Like a date?!" Stiles's voice breaks a bit on the last word, because what.
Derek flushes even harder, and stands up. "Never mind. If you'd rather not—"
"Whoa dude! Wait!" Stiles holds his hands up, trying to keep Derek from leaving. "I didn't say I didn't want to. I'm not a hundred percent here right now and you're, like, one of the hottest guys I've ever seen. I'm half-convinced this is a hallucination brought on by too much caffeine and sleep deprivation and finals stress."
Derek rolls his eyes. "How about this. We go to the diner. I buy you dinner. You get a decent meal, go home, and study for your last final. And then tomorrow night, when you're finally free and have slept for more than three hours, I'll take you on a date. How does that sound?"
Stiles is pretty sure he's gaping like a fish. "Oh my God, you're the most perfect hallucination I've ever had."
Derek digs his thumb into the bridge of his nose. "I'm already starting to regret this."
"No!" Stiles scrambles to his feet, trying to shut down his laptop and pack everything up. "No, I am on board with that idea. So on board, you don't even know. That's the best idea I've heard all week. All month, even. Possibly all year."
Derek rolls his eyes again, but he's also blushing and looks like he's trying to contain a smile. It's fucking adorable. "Come on. Let's get some dinner before you start to hallucinate anything else."
(They get dinner, and true to his word, Derek takes Stiles out after he's completely finished with finals. Stiles is very pleased to find out that Derek, and his kisses, are anything but a hallucination.)