Stiles is starving, like he can feel his stomach revolting and eating him from the inside out. He needs food. Now.
“Go get some then,” Derek says, trying his best to ignore Stiles so he can read his book.
"Why don't you have anything edible?!" Stiles shouts, looking forlorn as he stares at the seemingly empty abyss that is Derek's open fridge.
"I just went grocery shopping. Everything in the fridge is edible."
Stiles holds out a green leafy something above the fridge. "What even is this, Derek? This is not edible." He brings it closer to read the label and scrunches his nose. "Swiss chard? Isn't that a Pokemon?"
"No. It's a vegetable."
"I don't know how you expect me to help you with this research if you don't give me sustenance that won't make me gag."
Derek sighs slamming his book shut and stands. He grabs his keys and wallet off the counter as Stiles shuts the fridge and stands in the doorway of the kitchen, smiling from ear to ear.
"You know you didn't want chard either," Stiles smirks, his arms crossed in front of him.
Derek rolls his eyes. "I'm just tired of hearing you bitching about my food."
He stalks out the door and returns fifteen minutes later with Stiles's favorite fast food. Stiles makes grabby hands at the bag and stuffs a handful of curly fries in his mouth. Derek is not at all affected by the moan that Stiles lets out, his eyes fluttering closed, as he takes a bite of his burger.
"I love you," Stiles says around a mouthful of food, and Derek rolls his eyes and goes back to research.
It was Stiles's idea to do a pack movie night, and everyone agreed it was a good idea. However, none of them took into consideration that all of them wouldn't be able to agree on one movie.
They've been arguing for the better part of an hour now, and the pizza and popcorn are definitely cold. Stiles cannot take it much longer. Someone has to intervene.
"We can't take a vote because we would all choose our own movie!" Stiles shouts amid his arguing friends.
"Not necessarily," Isaac says.
Stiles rolls his eyes, "You can't use this vote as a way to buy favor with Scott." Isaac's face reddens, and Scott looks adorably confused.
"I'd rather watch the movie Stiles suggested,” Derek says out of nowhere from the kitchen, and seriously, where did he come from? It might be his house, but Stiles forgot he was even there because he’s been silent this whole time.
Stiles gives Derek a huge grin. “I love you, man,” he says before turning to the group, movie in hand. “You know what that means?” he asks the group at large, who groan in unison.
What it means is that they are totally watching Stiles’s movie because it’s Derek’s house and so he has final say when they can’t decide. Okay so maybe Stiles made up that rule, but whatever, they are all going to watch it and like it. And maybe Stiles is more than a little pleased that Derek sided with him.
He's not quite sure how this happened. Well no, that's not true he knows how, he's just not sure how he feels about it.
He is currently at dinner with his dad and Derek, of all people. He's pretty sure it's his dad's way of thanking Derek for helping him with certain unexplainable supernatural cases (because the Sheriff has been calling up Derek more and more as an unofficial consultant on things). And while yes he might have suggested to his dad that maybe he should do something for Derek, Stiles was thinking more along the lines of getting him a gift card or offering him an actual position on the force.
Not this. Not an incredibly uncomfortable dinner at a somewhat casually upscale restaurant with Derek and Stiles. Stiles has shit to do, like pack to leave for college.
“So, Derek, did I hear you moved into a new place?” the Sheriff asks once they are seated and the hostess has handed them their menus. They are in a booth, with Stiles next to his dad and Derek sitting awkwardly alone on the other side.
“Yeah, it’s a house, actually. Figured it was time I owned one of those,” Derek replies, flipping through his menu.
Stiles wishes he weren’t sitting directly across from Derek because it means he has to stare at him the whole dinner. Of course the other option would have been next to Derek, and that probably would have been a thousand times worse. As it is, every time Derek shifts, their knees bump, and Stiles tries very hard to ignore how touching Derek makes him feel.
The Sheriff laughs and nods. The waiter comes before the Sheriff can ask another question, and she asks what they’d like to drink. After they answer, all three go back to their menus trying to decide what to order.
Stiles knows that because it’s a celebration of sorts, his dad will try to get away with getting something fattening or full of butter. Usually Stiles lets it go, but with him leaving soon, he knows that his dad will probably be a little more lax about his eating habits once Stiles is two and a half hours away and can only threaten via text or phone call. He can only imagine the day he comes back from college for a visit and sees the junk food in the cupboards.
“You decided what you’re getting?” Stiles asks, noticing that his dad seems to have decided on something.
“Maybe,” his dad says unhelpfully, to which Stiles rolls his eyes. “I’m thinking about getting the special,” he says, vague again.
Stiles looks around the restaurant and notices a chalkboard above the kitchen area where it lists their daily soups, and the special. The special that is a freakin’ chicken fried steak, double fried and soaked in gravy. It even comes with mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese, which makes Stiles gawk because they aren’t even pretending to put some kind of vegetable on there. He could understand corn, although it’s totally starchy and not quite a vegetable, but seriously nothing.
“Uh, Dad, that looks super unhealthy. All the food will be beige. There’s nothing green.”
“Maybe I’m okay with that,” his dad huffs, clearly perturbed that his teenage son is trying to influence what he’s ordering for dinner.
Stiles opens his mouth to protest, but then Derek pipes up.
“Maybe you could get a salad? Didn’t you say you didn’t care much for macaroni and cheese? Perhaps they could substitute it?” Derek says, and Stiles loves him.
“I love you,” he says to Derek with a wide grin. He then turns the grin on his dad, who sighs and shrugs, like there’s no use in fighting them both since they are apparently out to get him and keep him from the calories he wants.
Stiles might notice Derek’s flushed cheeks when he turns back to face him, but they soon return to normal when the waitress comes back and they order.
For his eighteenth birthday, yeah, he made a big deal about it, but this year Stiles is turning 19 and it’s nothing. His birthday happens to fall on a weekend, so he is going home to celebrate with his dad, and then do laundry and do some homework because college. He and Scott celebrated early before he left for home, and while Scott was disappointed that they weren’t going to have a party or something, Stiles promised they’d go out with everyone else when he got back.
Really though, Stiles is totally down with having a chill, relaxing birthday at home. After he arrived, his dad took him out to his favorite restaurant, and then his dad made the staff embarrass him by singing to him, a classic Stilinski tradition, and bring out a free slice of chocolate cake with a candle in it. He was feeling generous and even shared it with his dad.
All in all it is a good, relaxing, albeit predictable birthday, so far.
What he didn’t predict, however, is for Derek to ring his doorbell an hour after his dad left for his shift at the station.
“Uh, hey?” Stiles says, leaning against the open door. Thinking Derek was actually wanting his dad, Stiles adds, “My dad left for his shift a little while ago.”
“I… uh… actually came to see you?” Derek says, his voice quiet and hesitant. Stiles didn’t even know Derek knew he was in town, although now that he thinks about it, he’s sure Scott or his dad let it slip.
“Oh, uh, okay cool. Wanna come in?” Stiles asks as he opens the door wider in invitation. Derek nods and steps in. He’s in tight jeans (not that Stiles notices how tight they are, he doesn’t) and a soft black T-shirt with his ever-present leather jacket.
“So what’s up?” Stiles finally asks once he’s shut the door and facing Derek, who looks like he’s nervous, which is weird. “Is something wrong?”
Derek immediately shakes his head. “No, I uh, your dad, well and Scott, mentioned it was your birthday, and your dad said you were going to be in town for it, so I… uh… Here.” He whips out a small wrapped present from an inside pocket of his jacket and practically shoves it at Stiles.
Stiles is a little surprised to say the least, but also incredibly excited. He wasn’t expecting any gifts, let alone a gift from Derek, and Derek seems so nervous and anxious about it too. It kind of makes Stiles want to take his sweet time opening it just to see how flustered Derek will get about it. But, he’s a little impatient himself, so he doesn’t and instead rips off the wrapping with glee.
When he finally tears enough off to realize what it is, his gaze snaps up to Derek, his mouth agape.
“I, uh, hope it’s the right one. Scott told me the name, but there’s like five versions. And then I had to double check this was the right one for the system you have, but if it’s not--”
“I love you,” Stiles finally says, cutting Derek off, mouth closed to reveal a wide grin. “I have been wanting this game since it was announced. You’re the best!” He throws himself at Derek for a hug, which only makes Derek grunt but slowly bring his arms up to return it.
“Happy birthday,” Derek says, with a pat on Stiles’s back.
Stiles steps back, face bright and happy. “Thank you.”
“You know… it has a two-player setting. Do you want to stay and play?” Stiles asks, thumbing over his shoulder towards the living room. Derek shrugs and then seems to resign himself to sticking around and nods, starting to take off his jacket. Stiles is secretly pleased that Derek is staying to be with him both so he can show Derek his money was well spent but also because it means he’s not spending his birthday evening alone at home.
And if Derek stays and ends up watching Stiles play long enough to doze off against Stiles’s shoulder, Stiles is the only one who knows about the loving and fond smile he gives the softly snoring Derek.
With almost a semester of college under his belt, Stiles decides to go home the weekend before finals. He can’t concentrate enough to study at school: the library is packed and despite the quiet zones, Stiles gets distracted by the slightest movements; the dorm is completely out of the question as the dummies who claim they don’t need to study goof off loud enough that Stiles can’t even hope to have silence enough to study.
So home it is. Plus, he could use with a little home-life away from the shenanigans of college. His dad is away all weekend to some mandatory sheriff conference a few hours away, so Stiles has the entire house to himself to study.
Except that now that he’s home, the last thing he wants to do is think about school. This was a bad idea. What was he thinking?! He’s going to have to drive back to take his exams and the thought of having to leave home again even for a week makes him groan. He should not have left campus; he should have known this was going to happen. He must have been more homesick than he realized.
In the hopes to snap him out of it enough to write the 10-page paper that’s due in lieu of an exam and then study for his others, he goes to the Beacon Hills Public Library instead of sitting in his room hoping inspiration will come to him.
He expects to find it mostly empty, at least more empty than his college library. What he does not expect to find is Derek sitting in one of the few comfy chairs they have reading what looks to be one of those historical fiction novels.
Hesitating a tad too long on whether or not he should take one of the chairs near Derek, the choice is made for him, and Derek looks up to see him, brow furrowed at first in confusion but then quickly smooths out to give him a smile and wave. Taking it as a cue, Stiles walks over to plop down on the other cushioned chair by Derek.
“I thought there was still a week of school left?” Derek says in a hushed whisper.
“There is. I came home to study.”
Derek opens his mouth in an “ah” before smirking. “And how’s that going?”
Stiles slumps. “It’s not. That’s why I’m here. I’m hoping being surrounded by books will get me to crack open the ones I need to.”
With an almost silent chuckle, Derek shakes his head at Stiles. “Good luck then,” he says as he turns back to his own book.
Stiles does his best to ignore Derek sitting beside him while he pulls out his laptop and necessary school books and papers. He’s worried that he won’t be able to concentrate at all knowing Derek is next to him, but surprisingly he’s able to zone out and completely focus on his paper. It’s almost as if knowing Derek is there lets him relax a little more because Derek would tell him if something was wrong or he needed to stop.
He knocks out his paper in an hour and a half, and when he finally sits up from where he was hunched over his laptop to glance over at Derek, Derek is still there, although he’s now a considerable way through his book than when Stiles first sat down.
“Finished?” Derek asks when he notices Stiles staring at him.
“With my paper at least. Still have to study for my other exams.”
Derek nods. “Do you want to keep studying here?”
Stiles shrugs, resisting the urge to narrow his eyes to figure out what Derek is implying with his question. “My paper was the main thing I was worried about. Now that it’s out of the way, I could probably go… somewhere else? Why?”
Derek, as casual as ever, places a bookmark in his book and straightens in his seat. “You’re welcome to study at my house if you’d like?”
“Your house?” Stiles parrots back because is Derek inviting him over? To study of all things?
Derek rolls his eyes. “Yes. At my house you can eat while you study, can’t exactly do that here at the library. It’s up to you,” he says, standing from his chair and shuffling around it, walking towards the exit.
Quickly, Stiles shoves his books and laptop into his bag and jogs to catch up with Derek. “You make a good point,” he says as he and Derek walk out of the library side by side.
With a smirk, Derek lifts an eyebrow like he knows he made a good point because doesn’t he always (which no he doesn’t, okay?) and heads over to his Camaro.
Technically, Stiles has his Jeep, and he could just drive himself and meet Derek at his house, but part of him wants to ride with Derek, not wanting to break this moment of camaraderie? friendship? whatever the hell it is? between them. So, instead, he strides over to Derek’s car with him and opens the passenger-side door and climbs in.
Derek gives him a look, like he wasn’t quite expecting Stiles to ride with him, but he doesn’t say anything about it and pulls out of his spot and drives them both to his home.
In the end Stiles is glad he ran into Derek because studying at Derek’s house with Derek around was kind of perfect. Derek made them both sandwiches for lunch when he told Stiles he needed to take a break. He subtly left some snacks and drinks on the table for Stiles later on while Stiles was elbow-deep in study guides.
He had gotten so much done in one afternoon at Derek’s that he was thinking he could probably get away with driving back to school tomorrow night and doing a last minute review up there before taking the rest of his finals the first day the testing center was open. That way he could get them all done fast, use the rest of his time to pack and come home with plenty of time to go Christmas shopping before the rush.
He’s too lost in thought to notice warm hands on his shoulders squeezing and massaging them and his back. He lets out a groan and drops his head forward as he lets Derek continue his ministrations.
“God, I love you,” Stiles mumbles, and he only realizes what he’s said because Derek’s hands squeeze a little harder than comfortable after the words are out of his mouth. Derek doesn’t stop though, and Stiles is glad for it. A tiny part of him feels like there’s some truth to those words, and not just for what Derek has done for him. But he’d rather Derek take it as a “Bro, I love you” way than something else right now because he’s not even sure why he himself is not thinking of it that way.
Yeah, he needs to get his exams out of the way first, then he can figure out what the hell is going on with his feelings.
He thanks Derek a little while later, after Derek takes him back to his car. Derek wishes him luck on his finals and that he has a safe drive, and they hug goodbye, which is mostly normal for them, although it might be a little longer of an embrace than normal. Stiles of course ignores it and goes home to pass out and then wake up early to make the drive back to school, thoughts of him and Derek and love pushed to the back of his mind while thoughts of formulas and historically significant dates fill their place.
He finishes his exams in record time, way before Scott, and although he contemplates chilling and waiting for Scott to finish so they can caravan home together, he decides against it. He is anxious to get home, and not for the reasons he originally thought either, like to see his dad, or sleep in his own bed.
No, he kind of wants to get home so he can see Derek.
Now that he doesn’t have school to worry about, he can’t stop thinking about Derek, about all their interactions, especially the more recent ones. He’s always had a low-level crush on Derek, but he also found him annoying and gruff and aggravating, which was enough for him to ignore the crush. But in the last little while, Derek’s been kind and nice and thoughtful, and it’s made Stiles’s crush become more than a crush and something resembling feelings.
He realizes as he’s driving home, two and a half hours is a long time to contemplate things like feelings when you’re alone in your car, that he needs to tell Derek how he feels. But, how?
When he finally pulls into his driveway and unloads his things, he has a plan on how he’ll, for lack of a better word, woo Derek. He’s going to ask him out to a nice dinner, maybe get him a really nice early Christmas present, take him by the hand to walk around the lighted downtown area, and pull him into a kiss. It’ll be perfect and romantic, and there’s no way Derek can resist.
What ends up happening, however, is that all of Stiles’s plans to woo are thrown out the window as soon as he sees Derek.
Derek is standing in his doorway in a warm red sweater, sweatpants, and fuzzy slippers. He looks absolutely adorable and comfortable, and it takes everything in Stiles to not just jump into his arms and kiss him.
Instead he blurts out, “I love you!”
Derek stares back, unmoving, and doesn’t seem to have any kind of reaction to Stiles’s outburst. “I’m glad to see you, too,” Derek finally says, opening the door wider for Stiles to step inside.
“No, that’s not what I meant. I mean I did mean it, but I didn’t mean for it to come out like that. I had a plan, and--”
“Stiles,” Derek says, placing his hands on Stiles’s shoulders. “Calm down. It’s fine. I already know.”
Stiles’s head snaps up, eyes wide on Derek. “You know?”
Derek sighs, “Yeah. You’ve told me before. Several times, actually.”
“Well, yeah, but those were different. I didn’t mean…”
“I could hear your heart when you said them… you weren’t lying when you said it.”
Stiles scoffs and runs a hand through his hair, effectively knocking one of Derek’s hands off his shoulder. Derek lets his other hand fall and stands back waiting.
“I wasn’t lying before, but I meant it… differently. Like, ‘I love you, man’ like how I love Scott. Like a bro.”
Derek’s brow furrows. “So what are you saying?”
“I’m saying, I love you. Like I want to kiss you and date you and marry you and have your babies… in a manner of speaking.”
Slowly Derek’s eyes widen and he breathes out an “Oh.”
Grinning, Stiles steps closer to Derek and wraps his arms around Derek’s neck.
“You love me?” Derek says, voice barely audible, like he’s still unbelieving of Stiles’s words.
Stiles bobs his head. “I love you. Can I please kiss you now?”
Instead of answering, Derek closes the space between them and presses their lips together. It’s not quite how Stiles envisioned their first going, there’s no twinkle lights, or a chill in the air and the sound of distant laughter and carolers, but it’s perfect anyway.
“I love you, too,” Derek whispers when they break the kiss.
Derek nods, his nose brushing along Stiles’s. “It’s why I got so nervous every time you said it before. I wasn’t sure you meant it the way I meant it, so I couldn’t tell you.”
“We are definitely on the same page now, though, right?” Stiles asks, reaching his hand up to cup Derek’s cheek.
Derek smiles and kisses Stiles again. “Definitely,” he says against Stiles’s lips before leading Stiles towards the couch where they end up getting on the same page about a few other things.