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Vendsgiving (AKA Derek and Stiles Meet at an Airport on Thanksgiving)

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“You have got to be fucking kidding me.”

Derek buried his head in his hands, his thumbs working in slow circles at his temples to try to fight the migraine that had been building for the last— since he’d woken up actually. Approximately twelve hours ago. The guy with the loud voice was not helping.

“Man, can you believe this shit?” came the same voice, less loudly, immediately to Derek’s left.

Derek squeezed his eyes closed, hoping the voice would go away if he didn’t acknowledge it.

“Hey, dude. You okay?”

Derek sighed and peered through the fingers covering his face. He mostly saw a blurry line of plaid. It was not encouraging. “Fine,” he bit out.

“Cause I can’t help but notice that you don’t look okay. I mean, I get it. We’re stuck in a fucking airport for the night. On Thanksgiving.” The guy raised his voice pointedly on the last few words, like that might somehow change their situation. It only served to make Derek’s head pound a little more. “But like, you look like you’re up to your elbows in alligators.”

Derek couldn’t help but snort a little at the colorful description, and he finally lifted his hands from his face so he could properly look at the stranger. He’d been half expecting a kid, from the way he talked. He was only half right. The guy was young, but probably not that much younger than Derek. Certainly not by enough that Derek’s sudden observation of how attractive he was could be called creepy. And he was attractive, dammit. He was tall and lean, a little geeky, but in the adorable hipster way that Derek had always been undeniably drawn to, and Laura had always teased him about. His eyes were wide and liquid this close, and framed in black glasses. Derek could also just make out the strands of ear buds peeking out between the layers of hoodie and plaid and an inexplicable T-shirt that looked, at best guess, to have some sort of Star Wars character on it.

“My name’s Stiles,” Cute Guy said, holding out his hand now that he clearly had Derek’s attention.

And, oh God, Derek’s brain must have been more gone than he’d realized if he was resorting to romance novel style epithets. He was helpless to resist the offered hand though, and he sighed in resignation as he took it. “Derek.”

“Well, Derek, considering it’s just you and me and grandpa over there.” Stiles hooked his thumb at an elderly man who didn’t seem the least bit concerned at the delay to his Thanksgiving plans. He was, in fact, fast asleep, with his chin tucked against his chest and an old bowler hat pulled low over his face. “Consider yourself my new best friend for the night.”

Derek raised an eyebrow. “Why do I get the feeling that you drive all of your friends to drink?”

Stiles gave an agreeable and unconcerned nod. “I might resemble that remark. A little. Sometimes. And speaking of.” Stiles brightened and started rummaging through his backpack, coming up a second later after making a triumphant “Ah ha!” He held up a handful of mini vodka bottles. “Wanna share? You look like you could use one, dude. And I think I saw OJ in one of the vending machines if you want to mix it.”

“Do I even want to know how you got those through security?”

“Probably better not to ask. But if it makes you feel any better, you’re way cuter.”

When Derek gave him an incredulous look, Stiles snorted, then full on laughed. It was a nice laugh.

“Dude, your face! Just kidding, man.” Stiles waved one of the bottles in Derek’s face. “So?”

“I’m good. I’d take a Tylenol if you’ve got it though.”

At his words, something in Stiles’ face changed, softening a little. “It’s a headache then?”

“I don’t like flying,” Derek answered.

“And stupid airports being stupid isn’t helping, amiright? It’s such bullshit that we’re stuck here overnight now. I was hoping to at least get to spend a little bit of Thanksgiving with my dad. You going to see your family too?”

Derek shrugged. “That’s not why I was traveling to Beacon Hills.” He hoped there was enough finality to his voice that Stiles wouldn’t question him about it anymore. Thankfully, he seemed to get the message.

“Ah. Well, I don’t actually have any Tylenol, but I might still be able to help with that headache of yours.”

“Pretty sure nothing but some serious painkillers, a dark room, and sleeping for twelve hours would help at this point,” Derek said.

“Maybe. Or, you could let me work my magic. Because I, good sir, am a massage therapist and I happen to be pretty damn awesome at my job.”

“A massage therapist? Really?” Derek had a feeling that he wasn’t half as good at hiding his incredulity as he hoped.

“Yes, really. And please. No happy ending jokes, ok? I’ve heard them all. Now, a neck rub, yes or no?”

Derek considered. He typically didn’t like people touching him at the best of times, but it was late enough that all the shops in the airport were closed, so finding some Tylenol wasn't going to be likely. He could probably find someone else stuck overnight that had something, but that seemed like it would require effort. And then there was the fact that… he surprisingly wanted to trust Stiles. There was something about him that Derek couldn’t help but feel drawn to, that went deeper than the fact that he was attractive.

“Yes. Fine.”

“Awesome. You’re going to feel better in no time.” And then Stiles got up to walk behind the bank of seats to stand behind Derek.

Derek had never actually had a massage before, although he’d definitely been intrigued by the weird massage chairs in the mall. Still, he didn’t know what to expect, and having a stranger behind him made Derek even more tense, as did the expectation of that first touch.

“Okay,” Stiles said from behind him. “I’m going to put my hands on your shoulders, is that alright? Relax, dude. Everything is going to be fine.”

And then Stiles’ warm hands were on the skin of his neck, large and confident. It should have been scary, but within seconds Derek found himself melting into the touch. Stiles hadn’t lied, his hands were magic.

Derek didn’t know how long Stiles worked, his hands kneading along Derek’s shoulders, the back of his neck, up into his scalp. Stiles worked on aches Derek hadn’t even known were there until Stiles found them, soothing each one with pressure that was just on the edge of pleasure-pain until Derek was little more than a boneless shell of his former, and much more tense, self. He also couldn’t have said when his headache started to melt away, but it did.

When Stiles stopped touching him an indeterminate time later, Derek blinked to find that Stiles had come back around in front of him. Their gazes met, the world narrowing down to the warm amber of Stiles’ eyes, framed by his ridiculous glasses that really shouldn’t have worked on his face, but they totally did. And wow. Derek was surprised to realize how out of it he was, the world dreamlike and kind of hazy. Except for Stiles of course, who was a little too real.

Stiles laughed, warm and amused. “Better?”

“Yeah. Yes. Much. Wow.”

“Good.” Stiles’ lips curved into a slow smile, and he slumped back into the seat next to Derek. “You look like a completely different person now that the murder eyebrows are gone.”

“Murder...what?”

Stiles leaned forward and traced a finger along one of Derek’s eyebrows, smoothing it out when Derek started to frown again. “These eyebrows are kind of spectacular, not going to lie.” Stiles was leaning forward, just barely outside of Derek’s personal space. Barely. Their eyes met again, and Stiles blushed, pulling his hand away. He swallowed visibly, before he continued speaking. “Anyway. I think I’ve worked up an appetite. I literally didn’t realize until right now that I haven’t eaten like, all day. Which is a crime, considering it’s Thanksgiving and I’m supposed to be passed out in a tryptophan coma by now.”

It was like a spell had been broken, and Derek felt reality seep back in around him. He was surprised to find that it wasn’t entirely a bad thing, though. “Sorry. I don’t have any food.”

“That’s cool. But you should totally come with me to raid a vending machine. Buddy systems and all that. I might need you to save me.

“From... a vending machine?"

Stiles shrugged, looking sheepish. “You never know, dude. Please say yes?”

“Um. Yes?”

“Good answer!” Stiles said, taking Derek’s hand and pulling him to his feet. It wasn’t hard, considering Derek was still a little dazed. He also had a feeling that there was no point in fighting the inevitable. They both knew he was going; there was something to be said for Stiles’ personality, which Derek was coming to realize was closer to a force of nature.

They took a few minutes to count up their cash— a sum total of about $8.76 between the two of them. Stiles quickly liberated Derek’s $5 and left Derek with the rest of the ones and change.

“Dude. It’s not that I don’t trust you, but I don’t trust you. Someone with a body like yours clearly doesn’t know how to appreciate quality snacking. Go pick out whatever you want from that machine though. We’ll make it work.” Stiles pointed to one of the fancier machines with sandwiches inside.

Derek walked up to it, but the prices were more than what he could afford with his handful of crumpled bills. He did, however, see a credit card reader, so he surreptitiously dug his card out and bought two turkey clubs. The cash ended up going toward a couple of bags of salt and vinegar chips, because those were his absolute favorites, and some spearmint gum because he had a bad feeling that his breath was going to smell like ass after all the junk food.

A few minutes—and, as expected, no vending machine related incidents—later, they met back at what Derek was starting to think of as their bank of seats— essentially a row without arm rests, unlike all the rest of the seats in the immediate vicinity. They were located close to the door that would normally lead out to the airplane, and faced the large picture window that looked out onto the twinkling lights of the tarmac at night. Because their gate was in the corner, this had the benefit of putting them in their own little secluded space, protected from the quiet hush of the airport’s night operations.

"Okay,” Stiles said, plopping down on the floor. He eyed Derek expectantly, biting his lip to fight back an obvious laugh when Derek looked back and forth between Stiles, sitting on the floor, and the perfectly comfortable seat. That was not the floor.

It’s a picnic dude. Picnics happen on the ground.”

“So does E. coli and salmonella.”

Stiles rolled his eyes, but got up. He jerked his hoodie off, then spread it on the floor in front of him. He proceeded to unload his armful of food onto that instead. “I totally just washed this this morning. I’m sure it’s fine.”

So Derek sat. Even though it was ridiculous. There was no way the hoodie was any more sanitary, but there was something about the effort of it that had Derek totally charmed. And a little steamrolled. And possibly slightly smitten. The qualifiers were simply because he’d never experienced anything like this before. Anyone like Stiles before.

“Picnic, huh?”

“Mmmhmm,” Stiles said, eyeing the frankly amazing amount of food he’d managed to finagle from the vending machine for $5. “I showed you mine, now you show me yours.”

Derek promptly choked on his own tongue. He blushed even more when Stiles smirked knowingly at him, although the only thing he actually did was make an impatient ‘come on’ wave of his hands, encouraging Derek to cough up his goodies faster.

So Derek did, unloading everything next to the mountain of Stiles’ junk.

“Dude!” Stiles turned big eyes on him when he read the label on the sandwiches. “Turkey! You, my man, are the best. Oh my God.”

“I figured it was appropriate.”

The smile Stiles gave him was blinding and a little wet. “Okay. So this isn’t just a picnic. We have officially graduated beyond the picnic stage. I henceforth name this—” Stiles paused in thought, and Derek could practically see the gears in his brain turning. Just like he could see the moment when everything clicked into place. “Vendsgiving!”

“Vendsgiving,” Derek repeated, unimpressed but not surprised. He’d barely known Stiles for an hour, but it was such a Stiles thing to say. Derek suspected he’d been immunized to Stiles’ quirkiness the moment Stiles had lulled him into a magic, massage induced coma. Hell, Derek wasn’t entirely sure that this wasn’t all a dream.

“Yeah, Dude. Like, Thanksgiving, plus vending machine, because that’s where we got all our food! Get it?”

“Yes, Stiles. I get it.”

Stiles smiled, pleased with himself. “Vendsgiving 2015.”

Derek groaned. “If you have to name it that, maybe take the date off. That implies that there could be another one and I really don’t want to have to do this again. Ever.”

Stiles made a soft “Huh”, but nodded seriously. “Fair point. Okay. Just Vendsgiving, then. Although don’t doubt that there will totally be other vending machine raids. This one is just special enough to have it’s own name!”

“That is between you and your God and your wallet, Stiles.”

“Yeah, fair enough.”

“I thought massage therapists were supposed to be more... “

Stiles raised an eyebrow, and holding Derek’s gaze, loudly tore open a bag of Fritos. “What Derek? You mean vegan yoga hippy types?”

“Honestly? Yes.”

Stiles shrugged, and went to work on a couple more bags of the junk food. He didn’t actually eat anything though, just opened each bag or wrapper and laid the food back down on his unzipped hoodie. He apparently didn’t seem to care about crumbs. “I guess a lot of us are, but that’s not me. I mean I try to be more healthy, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a bag of Fritos once in awhile if I want? You know? Also, I literally only just got my license man. It’s not like the money is rolling in yet. A man’s gotta eat.”

Once about half of the food was opened Stiles leaned back, and eyed Derek. “So I can’t speak for you and your family or anything, but around my house we usually go around and say one thing that we’re grateful for before we eat. That cool with you?”

Derek licked his lips as his throat went a little dry with the thought, but he nodded. “Okay.”

“Right. I’ll start.” Stiles leaned forward so that the sharp points of his elbows rested on his crossed knees. His brow furrowed as he thought, and Derek realized that this wouldn’t be some shallow answer like he’d been hoping, despite knowing immediately and in his heart that nothing would ever be so easy with Stiles.

“I’m thankful that I have a career that I love, and that I get to help people doing it,” Stiles started, voice a little distant, “And that my dad’s last checkup was excellent, so clearly someone must be enforcing my diet restrictions for him. I’m also thankful for…” Stiles trailed off, and the distant quality about him vanished. He met Derek’s eyes, “Not being alone right now. My companion might be a little grumpy, but he’s kind of attractive and surprisingly sweet despite his attempts to appear otherwise. Like, I know that these turkey sandwiches cost more than the cash that he had, but the holiday isn’t going to be as awful as I thought it would be, because of him. So. I’m um. Thankful. For that.” Stiles was blushing as he finished, but he didn’t look away from Derek until the last word had left his mouth.

Derek's heart clenched, and he was blown away by the bravery in Stiles to have said that to him. He didn’t think, in his entire life, he’d ever been brave like that himself. But maybe he could come close now.

“I’m thankful for not being alone right now, too,” Derek said. He paused, waited until Stiles looked up and met his gaze again, before he continued. “Today, hell, the last few days have been really fucking shitty. My sister got shot and I thought— I thought I’d lost her. That’s why I was going home. Not because of the holiday, but to see her. I haven’t really celebrated Thanksgiving with anyone in a few years, not since I moved to New York. It always seemed like too much trouble to fly home. But now I get to spend,” Derek paused, and let himself smile a little, “Vendsgiving, with one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. So. I’m thankful for that. And I’m thankful that my sister will be okay. And…” Derek trailed off, unable to find any more words.

He realized that Stiles had put a warm hand on his shoulder. “Hey, dude.” Stiles smiled at him. “I’m sorry about your sister.”

“It’s okay. She’s going to be fine. It was on the job, so she knew the risks. We all knew the risks when she started the job as a sheriff’s deputy, but…”

“Wait.” Stiles froze, his eyes wide. “You’re Derek and… oh my God. Hale. You’re Derek Hale and your sister is Laura Hale, isn’t she?”

Derek blinked in surprise. “How could you possibly know that?”

Stiles smiled then, something amused and pleased, but also still warm and sympathetic. “Last names’ Stilinski. My dad’s the sheriff. He told me about Laura getting shot. Dude. Your sister is badass. I was there the day she applied at the station and I’ve spent some time with her. Hell, I practically lived at the station before I moved to New York for the job I have now.”

“Oh.” And then, because Derek apparently had a one-track mind, he stuck on the single relevant part of what Stiles had said. “You live in New York now too?” Also, it was easier to talk about such mundane things as street address, than to acknowledge the warmth that bloomed in his chest when Stiles talked about his sister with such fondness.

Stiles leaned forward to pick up his sandwich. Apparently, now that they’d gotten the requisite tradition stuff out of the way, they were free to eat, and he took a mouthful. He chewed for a moment, eyeing Derek with bright eyes, his lips quirking into a smile that must have made the endeavor of eating more difficult than it should have been. Or not, considering how quickly Stiles managed to swallow the shockingly large hunk of food. “Mmhmm.”

Mmhmm, of course, translated to about 5 blocks from Derek. Because of course it did.

Over the course of the meal they learned more about each other than where they lived, too. Stiles was so fucking easy to talk to, and Derek was sure it had nothing to do with the vodka that they did finally break out. It was just Stiles, and the way he seemed to hang off every word Derek said, like he actually cared, like he was actually listening and processing and hearing the unspoken things between the gaps.

After emptying another mini vodka into his plastic bottle of OJ, Derek told Stiles about Kate, the girlfriend that had nearly managed to murder his family. How it had been equal parts guilt, and his family's expectations for him that had kept him from coming home every year since.

Stiles told Derek about his mom dying when he was eight, and he cried actual tears when Derek confessed to remembering Mrs. Stilinski, the school nurse that had let him pretend to be sick and take a nap in her office one day, for reasons that Derek can’t actually remember anymore. “Dude. That was totally something she’d do, too. She’d let me play hooky sometimes, would call it a ‘blue sky holiday’ and we’d go to the zoo or the aquarium or something. My dad hated it.”

Derek also got the story of how Stiles had somehow managed to knock over a vending machine once, when he’d been in high school. It explained a lot about their earlier conversation.

They kept talking and drinking and eating, enjoying each other’s company until they were both a little tipsy. At which point Stiles apparently decided that he was feeling generous, although Derek suspected that that at least had nothing to do with the booze.

Stiles’ enthusiasm when he said “Dude! Idea!” definitely did, though.

As it turned out, Stiles had been a little too frugal in his snack buying, and despite both of them being fully-grown men, they could only eat so much junk food. Which meant leftovers. A package of fig newtons, half of the gum, and a Hershey’s bar that neither of them had the stomach for finishing, specifically.

“We should totally share. Like, isn’t that what the holiday is about? Or something?”

This, naturally, led to them tiptoeing stealthily across the waiting area. Or, Stiles attempted to tiptoe stealthily, but mostly he kept tripping over his own feet so Derek had to catch him while Stiles giggled loudly. So it was actually about as unstealthy as it was possible to get— a couple of the airport staff gave them mean looks. One of the cleaning crew gave them a thumbs up.

Either way, they finally made their way over to where the old man was still sleeping, completely oblivious to the world. Once there, Stiles reverently took their extra food and set it on the seat next to him, along with a piece of paper on which he’d written “Happy Thanksgiving”. That done, he nodded seriously at Derek and they made their way back to their corner, collapsing against each other, both satisfied with their good work.

It was the best Thanksgiving— Vendsgiving, fuck, but Stiles was rubbing off on him— Derek had ever had.

Somehow, after all was said and done, they ended up lying down, curled on the floor together, both exhausted. Derek was dumbfounded to feel a kind of peace surrounding them that felt more like the calm that came after the endorphin rush of good sex. He was glad for it nonetheless. They’d propped Stiles’ backup against the wall as a pillow, and between Stiles’ crumb-ridden hoody and Derek’s leather jacket, they’d constructed something of a ‘blanket’— the hoodie on their upper halves, Derek’s jacket on their lower. Of course, it only worked if they were close together. So that’s how they ended up, Derek on his back, with his hands behind his head to soften the hard ridges of the backpack, Stiles with his head pillowed on Derek’s chest.

It was so easy to be together like this. There hadn’t even been any questions about it. No conversations or heated looks— there wasn’t anything sexual about it, just a mutual acknowledgement that they were two lost souls in an airport at night. They were tired, and still tipsy, so they might as well make the best of it together.

So they did.

Right as they were drifting off, the twinkling lights of the airport glinting down at them through the window, Stiles mumbled, the words pressed warmly into his chest, “Thank you, Derek.”

Derek smiled.


Derek woke up feeling disoriented. He couldn’t figure out where he was or what was going on, or if he even felt good or not. It took a long moment for his senses to come online, and when they did, several sensations registered all at once: his neck hurt like a sonofabitch. He was sleeping on the floor, hence the hurting neck.

There was a warm body on top of him.

Derek shifted, sitting up enough that he could see the mop of brown hair that belonged to Stiles, his unexpected “new best friend for the night.” Only it wasn’t night anymore, if the bright sunshine streaming in through the window and the increase in noise around them was anything to go by.

“Stiles,” Derek said, shaking Stiles’ shoulder a little.

“Wha?” Stiles squinted blindly up at him, prompting Derek to bite back a laugh. Stiles looked adorable, his hair mashed down flat on one side, but sticking up in a hundred different angles everywhere else. His face was flushed and his eyes were still glazed with sleep and squinted without his glasses, which he’d set aside when they’d lain down.

“Time to get up, I think.”

“Oh. Right.” Stiles sat up more, absently patting the ground in search of his glasses. He found them and slid them on his face. “So… huh.”

Derek raised an eyebrow in question as he pulled himself into more of a sitting position. He rotated his neck, wincing as it popped. He wondered if he could talk Stiles into another neck rub.

“I think we made a friend.”

“Friend?”

“Yeah dude.” Stiles pointed to where the rest of their things had been placed a safe distance a little next to them, and sure enough there were two still-hot cups of Starbucks coffee sitting there. Propped between the two cups was Stiles’ own handwritten “Happy Thanksgiving" note from the night before.

They looked over to where the old man was still sitting, awake now. He didn’t look at them exactly, seemingly engrossed in an open newspaper, but he did tip his hat in their direction.

Derek smiled. “I guess we did.”

They were slow getting up.

It also seemed that some of the easy camaraderie between them had vanished in the cold light of day. Stiles was stiff and tired, settling into his seat next to Derek, hunched over his coffee as they waited for their new flight. They didn’t talk.

When they boarded the plane, Derek sat near the front and Stiles near the back. Because this wasn’t their original flight, it was crowded enough that there weren’t extra seats and they couldn’t move closer to each other.

At one point, Stiles caught Derek looking back at him and waved jauntily. Derek blushed and refused to let himself look back again.

Stiles did give him a hug when they landed though, a big bear hug type thing, and the kind of hug that Derek had basically been on the receiving end of… never. It was nice.

“It was really great to finally meet you Derek. Although, not gonna lie, you aren’t how I pictured you at all from what Laura has told me about you.”

“It was, uh, nice to meet you, too.” Derek said, not quite meeting Stiles’ eye. He’d never been very good at goodbyes.

And then Derek watched Stiles walk toward baggage claim where a man in a beige uniform was waiting for him, and Derek, because he’d carried his only bag on the plane with him just… walked out of the airport. He knew either Cora or his mom would be waiting for him outside by the curb. There would be no reason for them to deal with parking.

If Derek’s heart clenched a little when he saw the sheriff’s patrol car, parked illegally, just outside, that was no one’s business but his own.


Derek’s arrival home was very anticlimactic. If Laura was traumatized by getting shot, she didn’t show it. If she was slowed down much at all, in fact, she didn’t show it. The only sign that anything had happened, in fact, was her determination to milk the situation for all it was worth.

“Der, would you get me a glass of water? I got shot, don’t you know. I’m supposed to be resting.” Of course, she’d been fine when she’d wrestled the remote from him a few minutes before. He’d let her win, and it wasn’t that she couldn’t have asked him to hand it over to the same effect. But it was still annoying.

Even more disconcerting was the way she kept smirking at him, like she knew something that he didn’t.

And yet, Derek was glad to see her acting like her usual self. Now that Derek had met Stiles, he kind of got how the two of them could be a deadly combination if they put their minds to it. He shuddered at the thought. And then smiled a little, despite himself.

Still. It had been almost two years since he’d been home, and it felt better than he’d thought it would to eat his mom’s cooking, and hear his dad’s cursing as he worked on some home improvement project or another.

He was thankful to be home.

“Oh, honey,” his mom said, hugging him and kissing him on the cheek when he told her that.

Derek felt something in his chest settle for the first time in years. He smiled and hugged her back.


Despite how nice it was to be surrounded by his family, it didn’t take long before Derek was practically going out of his mind at the craziness of it all.

So two days later, he stole the keys to Laura’s Camaro without asking and headed into town.

He didn’t have a destination in mind, but figured it might be nice to walk around downtown for a bit, maybe get some fresh air. So he parked and did just that, enjoying the quiet hum of the sleepy Sunday afternoon.

He’d been wandering for about thirty minutes when he came across a quaint little coffee shop. He didn’t particularly feel like coffee, so that wasn’t what drew him inside. No, what had him opening the doors before he even really realized what he was doing, was the sight of messy brown hair and wide, black-framed glasses.

“Stiles.”

A grin broke across Stiles’ face when he looked up from where he was sitting at one of the booths, a book open in front of him.

“Derek! Hey, dude, I wasn’t expecting to see you!”

“Yeah. I mean I wasn’t… I was just trying to get away from my family for a bit.”

Stiles bit his lip, his eyes twinkling. He didn’t say anything, like he was content to let Derek keep talking, keep making an ass out of himself.

“I should—” Derek tilted his head toward the door. “I saw you and I thought... But you look like you’re busy.”

“No. No wait. I get it. My dad and Melissa. Um. My step mom? They, uh, needed some alone time. So trust me, I really get it. Really.” Stiles waggled his eyebrows meaningfully. But I’ve also read this book like a dozen times,” Stiles held up an old faded copy of ‘Starship Troopers’. “Trust me when I say that you are far more interesting. You wanna sit?”

Derek sat so fast that his head spun. And he hated himself for it a little, except he really didn’t.

“I hear Laura is doing well.”

“She is. I think she’s determined to get as much mileage from this as she possibly can. It’s like she got shot in the leg, not her damn arm.”

Stiles snorted. “Somehow that doesn’t surprise me.”

They were silent for a few minutes, the air strained and slightly awkward between them. Derek thought it was weird to see Stiles unsure. He also thought he owed himself, maybe the both of them, some of the same bravery that he’d seen in Stiles over and over from the start.

“I was thinking that I fucked up,” Derek said, before he could talk himself out of it, or overthink it.

“You… What?” Stiles frowned. His long, magic, fingers traced a pattern across the top of the table, like he was trying not to fidget, and this was as close as he could come to restraining himself.

“I should have asked you for your number and I didn’t.”

“Oh, well.” A slow grin started to break across Stiles’ face, and he removed his hands from the table to settle them in his lap. All of the nervousness bled out of him, and there was the loud, brash, amazing person that had decided that Derek should be his new best friend and celebrate Vendsgiving with him, when no one else was around to keep him company.

Derek wondered if Stiles would have chosen him anyway, even if there’d been a hundred people stranded in that airport with them. The wild beat of his heart made him think that, yes, Stiles would have.

Derek was pulled from his musings by his phone buzzing against his thigh, and he frowned. He pulled it out slowly, his heart pounding. There was a text from an unknown number there. He read it at the same time that Stiles started speaking again.

“I totally got your number from Laura yesterday.”

From 530-123-432: Is this the part where you kiss me? I really hope it is.

Derek looked up from the text to find Stiles blushing madly. Derek was a little, too. But he did kiss Stiles.

It was perfect.