Stiles' favorite place in the world is Laura's bakery, especially now that he has an excuse to be there all the time. He'd managed to get a job there for the summer because Laura Hale was amazing and her part-timer had quit and he was home for the summer so she'd agreed to take him on. But, dude, money. And baked goods. That's what he was looking forward to all summer. The absolute best part was that Lydia was interning across the street and came in all the time for coffee and a muffin. But the second best part was that after close Laura had taken to showing him how to make a few of the delicacies offered by the bakery.
At least that's what he thought he'd spend all summer doing. Then Laura's brother showed up and Stiles saw the infamous Derek Hale for the first time since high school, when Derek would sometimes pick up his younger siblings from school. And wow, the years had been good to him. Well, physically at least. At the moment he seemed a little bit…grumpy.
"Is Laura in the back?" he demanded as soon as he walked in the door, almost causing Stiles to drop a tray of cookies in surprise. "She was supposed to meet me ten minutes ago," he continued without even apologizing for so obviously scaring the crap out of Stiles.
Of course, Stiles was more than willing to let it go, considering that this guy was one of the hottest humans he'd seen in like his entire life. He was really lucky that he'd managed to get over his need to babble during his first year of college.
"Yeah, we ran out of pumpkin muffins and she said she wanted to get some more in the oven before she left to meet her brother, who I'm guessing is you, because if we don't get them in the oven now then people will be complaining all day that we don't have any pumpkin muffins so she felt it was necessary and oh my god, I am babbling." Well, he'd thought he'd managed to get over it.
"Let me start over. Yes, Laura is in the back, she should be out in just a moment. Hi, by the way, I'm Stiles and you must be her brother, Derek," he said, trying to not feel like a total fool and fighting back his rising blush.
Derek just raised an eyebrow at him. "Do you always talk this much?"
And there was the blush. "Um, sometimes. I'm working on it."
"Needs some more work."
Thank god Laura chose that moment to appear because Stiles was sure that he was bright red. "Derek! Stop being so grumpy. I'm only a little late, don't take your temper out on Stiles. He's my best worker and I don't want you making him quit like you did the last one."
Laura was a goddess, Stiles was sure about that, because she grinned at Stiles and Derek rolled his eyes, but didn't say anything about Stiles babbling. "Let's go. Nice meeting you, Stiles," Derek says and tosses a smile Stiles' way as he walks out the door and Stiles' heart skips like five beats. He wasn't aware that it could do that until just now.
"I'll be back in about an hour Stiles, don't forget to pull the muffins out of the oven and call me if you have any problems. Thanks, bye!" Laura says and Stiles is pretty sure she's trying not to laugh at him but Stiles will forgive her because she's a goddess. A goddess with the hottest brother ever.
The next time that Stiles sees Derek he manages not to babble. Somewhat. Instead, he manages to spill coffee. As if the babbling wasn't embarrassing enough.
"Oh my god, I am so sorry. I didn't see you and I-" Stiles starts apologizing but cuts off when Derek gives him what could be the scariest glare he's ever seen. And he works for Laura. "Sorry," he squeaks out.
"It's fine," he says and Stiles can practically hear the strain it takes for Derek to say those words. Stiles wants to cry because this was not how he imagined this meeting going, not at all. "Laura has some of my clothes upstairs anyway."
So he pushes past Stiles to the back and then up the stairs to Laura's little apartment and Stiles really wishes he could just sink into the ground and disappear before the sex god came back. But he actually likes this job so he has to suck it up and deal with it. He's just finished mopping up what coffee didn't end up on Derek when he comes back in, wearing jeans and a white t-shirt.
Stiles can't help but stare for a moment, because he hasn't seen Derek in casual clothes since he was in high school and wow, he looks good in them. Not that he doesn't look good in the suits he normally wears when he's working, but this is something else. Stiles can see the muscles in his arms and the shirt is just tight enough to show off his six pack and Stiles is really glad he isn't holding anything this time because he'd probably drop whatever it was. Again.
"Can you just tell Laura that I stopped by and I'll come back later?" Derek asks, in a tone that makes it seem more like an order than a request. Not that Stiles would have said no in any case.
"Uh, sure," Stiles manages and almost congratulates himself on not saying anything else.
"Thanks. See you around, Stiles," he says and leaves. Stiles stands there for a long moment, unable to shake the afterimage of Derek and the fact that he knew Stiles' name. He actually remembered who Stiles was beyond Laura's summer worker.
It's only when Lydia comes in that he returns to Earth. "Was that Derek Hale who just left? Cause damn, the years just keep getting kinder to him," she says while Stiles gets her usual and Stiles can't help but agree inside his own head. Not that he'd ever say so out loud in front of Lydia, on account of the whole he's been in love with her since the third grade thing. Although, right now, compared to Derek, she's not as amazing as he normally thinks she is. (Not that she's not completely awesome.)
The third time they're not even in the bakery. Stiles is awkwardly manning the grill at the annual barbeque that the station has, that he's been going to every year since he was born. He loves all of the people there, don't get him wrong, it's just that they know every embarrassing story there is to know about him and Derek is here. Because he's a lawyer and Stiles' dad invited him because he always invites pretty much the entire town, but especially anyone who has even the slightest connection to the law. And Stiles is twenty years old, they should really stop telling some of those stories.
Which is why, instead of mingling and being the life of the party as he normally is, he's hiding at the grill. Not that anyone is complaining, because they always make a point to say that the Sheriff should really let Stiles handle anything to do with food because the boy has a gift. (Stiles likes when they say stuff like that, it's part of the reason that he's double majoring in Food Science and not just Nutrition)
Normally this is the highlight of his summer, but right now he's feeling a little sick to his stomach watching girls corner and flirt with Derek. His only consolation is that Derek always looks uncomfortable and that Laura comes to rescue him before long. Not that that helps all that much, because Derek's still got girls throwing themselves at him. And Stiles is just flipping burgers and hoping no one notices his sexual identity crisis.
So of course Derek manages to show up right next to Stiles without Stiles even noticing him move, because, holy crap, the boy might be sex on a stick, but he can be oddly creepy sometimes. Like when he appears out of nowhere and has apparently been watching Stiles before Stiles notices the fact that he's there.
"Derek!" he squeaks out, to his everlasting shame, "what are you doing?" And wow, wasn't that just the smoothest of lines ever. Not.
Derek just does that thing where he raises one eyebrow and Stiles should not think that is as hot as he does. "Not that you're doing anything wrong, cause you're just standing there. I just totally didn't even notice the fact that you were there and was more than a little, you know, surprised. That you were there." Stiles is pretty sure by now that the babbling will never stop when it comes to Derek Hale.
"Apparently you can do more than bake, according to Laura. I've yet to try anything you've made," Derek said and wow, that was in no way a subtle conversation topic change. Not that Stiles is complaining seeing as he doesn't point that out.
"Yeah, I've always loved to cook and I would bake cookies every week with my mom before she died. Then I ended up taking care of all the food preparation for my dad and somehow here I am, a double major in Food Science and Nutrition. Not exactly what anyone would have predicted but it works for me. Plus, it means people trust me a lot more around open flames like this grill." Probably more information there than Derek wanted to know but at least Stiles had been coherent and not babbling.
Derek kind of smirks at him and that does funny things to Stiles' stomach. "I was wondering why they were letting you so near to fire, knowing how clumsy you can be."
Okay, so Derek is an asshole. "Yeah, well, you should just try one of my burgers. You'll take back anything mean you've ever said about me," Stiles says and is a little embarrassed by how juvenile that sounds, but is ticked off enough not to care.
"Maybe next time, I've got to go. Tell your dad that I said that the party was nice and I'll see him on Monday." Derek leaves then but Stiles can't help the way that his heart rate has already picked up. He'd said 'next time' which meant that Stiles would see him again. That Derek acknowledged that they were at least acquaintances. Which was a lot more than most people could say about Derek Hale.
This day could not be going any worse for Stiles. He'd been up since four o'clock in the morning and at the bakery since five. The air conditioning was leaking in the right-hand corner so they'd had to rope that off and put trash cans under it and call for a repair man ten times, who still hadn't shown up. There'd been a mix-up and the night baker had had almost nothing ready for the day so Stiles had been forced to run around double time to get everything out when it was finally ready.
The entire time there was no air conditioning in the middle of a heat wave so everyone was dying and the customers all complained, as if it was all Stiles' fault. Of course, most customers were rude any day of the week so Stiles should be able to brush it off, but today it was just one thing too many.
So when an out of towner ordered a cherry danish Stiles had done exactly what he was supposed to do and put the pastry on a plate with a knife and a few napkins. It was when he tried to hand it to the customer that there was a problem.
"How am I supposed to eat that?! Huh?! How am I supposed to eat that?!" the man yells into Stiles' face and for a moment Stiles is stunned, the only thing he can think of is the fact that he's really glad that the bakery is empty right now, for the first time this morning. "With my fingers?!"
But he gathers his thoughts pretty quickly. "Would you like a fork, sir?" he asks, trying to keep his voice even and polite. When all he wants to say is 'yeah, actually, you are supposed to eat it with your fingers, asshole.' But Laura probably would not be happy he said that.
"Yes I want a fork!" the customer snaps back, still yelling and Stiles goes to grab a fork, noticing as he does that the bakery is not, in fact, empty. Derek Hale is standing in the doorway, having obviously witnessed what had just happened. Stiles fights back a blush, unsure why he's embarrassed and pretty sure it's just because he's so pissed off right now.
"Here you are, sir," Stiles says as he hands the fork to the customer, who just snorts and stomps off to sit at one of the little tables in the corner opposite the leak. He can't avoid it and turns to face Derek, who has now actually approached the counter. "Hi Derek, what's up?"
"Laura was supposed to set aside some pastries for me to bring into the office, do you have them?" Derek says, completely ignoring Stiles greeting. Which should piss Stiles off even further, but it's normal for Derek so it actually makes him feel a bit better.
"Yeah, here you are. There's knives and napkins in the bag. Did you need anything else?" Because Stiles is nothing if not professional today.
"No, I'm good," Derek says and then raises his voice so that it fills every corner of the room, "Because you are actually supposed to eat the pastries with your fingers." That makes Stiles break out into a smile, a real one for the first time that day. And Derek honest-to-god winks at him before turning and heading out, calling over his shoulder "see you around, Stiles."
That moment carries Stiles through the rest of the day (even when the register breaks when there's a line out the door).
Stiles was so, so late. His alarm hadn't gone off that morning and he was supposed to have been at the bakery almost ten minutes ago. Laura had called within five minutes of him not showing up, which had been what woke him up. So he was a little panicked as he drove through town, barely managing not to speed cause having his dad pull him over would be just what his day did not need.
It was times like these that he regretted the fact that his dad was the sheriff, because any other kid's dad would have been home on a Sunday morning and could have woken him up, but his dad was the sheriff and was out protecting the people. But more than that, he really missed his mom who had always been a morning person and would have definitely made sure Stiles was awake, she probably would have even woken him up before his alarm, especially if she knew what time his alarm was supposed to go off. Because she liked doing things like that, that she knew would annoy him, she'd thought it was funny when he was extra grumpy in the morning.
But he really can't think of that this morning, because he's now fifteen minutes late and is only just pulling into the bakery, where he can already see a couple cars in the parking lot belonging to people other than staff. He parks next to a black Camaro that looks vaguely familiar before rushing into the bakery, stopping dead when he notices the person behind the cash register helping an elderly lady.
Cause that's Derek Hale and wow, his day just got so much worse already and he hadn't thought that possible. Stiles continues to the back with just a nod of acknowledgement to Derek and is a little relieved to find Laura there, covered in flour. "I'm so, so sorry. My alarm didn't go off and my dad had the morning shift so he couldn't wake me up and-"
Laura cuts him off with a little laugh and she's smiling so he finally begins to relax a little, allowing his heart, which was pounding at a ridiculously fast rate, to begin to slow. "Don't worry about it, we all have those mornings and you managed to get here in record time. Go punch in and then help me with these muffins, Derek can handle the front for a little bit."
Stiles writes his clock-in time on the time card before grabbing an apron and going to wash his hands. "Are you sure? He's got it covered? Doesn't he have other things he has to do?"
Laura grins a little wickedly in response. "He's helping out today so that I don't spill some juicy gossip to certain parties, namely our parents and certain others who shall remain unidentified."
"Oh, okay," Stiles nods, only half understanding. It's times like these that he wishes Scott was his real brother because maybe then he could understand siblings a little better, but most of the time he's okay with it because really, Scott is basically his brother. He evens calls Melissa Mama McCall sometimes. "Cool," he says, because he really doesn't know what else to say.
"Although maybe I could tell you, you won't go spreading any rumors, will you?" she says and doesn't give Stiles time to respond before she goes on. "You see, Derek has a little crush on-"
Stiles doesn't get to hear who Derek has a crush on because at that moment Derek pokes his head back to ask Laura an absurd question and Laura just stifles laughter as she goes to help him. He's not sure whether he's disappointed or glad that Laura didn't get to finish because he really wants to know so that he can hate that person, but he doesn't like hating people so he's kind of glad he doesn't have to.
Over the course of the day Laura tries to bring it up a few more times but each time Derek manages to interrupt, like he has some kind of sixth sense for secret-spilling sisters, either that or he's got ridiculously good hearing because Stiles can never hear anything from the back when he's up front. Stiles is pretty sure it's the second option and he files that away under his mental notes of all things weird about the Hale family, cause he's noticed the same trait in Laura, along with being able to smell just when everything's done baking.
Another entry on the never-ending list of reasons why he worships at Laura Hale's feet is that sometimes, after they're closed and Stiles is staying after to help get stuff ready for the morning, she lets Scott come over and hang out with them while they bake. Scott's not allowed to touch anything, because he's a disaster in the kitchen, but he does make the time go by faster for the both of them. Especially once he's learned that Laura really doesn't have as much patience as Stiles when it comes to listening to him prattle on about his girlfriend Allison.
Unfortunately, this also means that Laura can use Scott to gang up on him. Sometimes Scott doesn't catch on to what Laura's trying to do and Stiles likes those times best, because it exasperates Laura so much, she can't quite understand how Scott can be so obtuse all the time. Stiles is pretty sure that its Scott's version of a superpower, cause it let him ignore so much shitty stuff over the years, almost enough to make up for the fact that Scott's asthma has not gotten any easier as he grew.
But Scott's a giant puppy and he doesn't let a little thing like breathing or obliviousness slow him down. And sometimes Stiles kind of envies that little world of his, because it seems happier than the real world. Occasionally he and Allison discuss Scott's world, they both agree that it would be a nice place to visit but only Scott could live there full-time. There wouldn't be enough sarcasm for the two of them.
So generally, Stiles is able to get out of Laura's targeting because he can confuse Scott enough to get him on his side. Of course, tonight would be one of those rare nights in which Scott is completely present, fully paying attention to the real world. Which is why, when Laura mentions something about Stiles not paying that much attention to Lydia anymore, Scott is all over that, in every way that could cause Stiles the most embarrassment.
"Stiles is going through a sexual identity crisis," Scott supplies, and grins happily when Laura wordlessly hands over the bowl so that he can scrape out the leftover cookie dough. Laura, on the other hand, grins maliciously, like the cat that caught the canary. "He's been mooning over this guy for a few weeks."
Scott shrugs, as if that's all that really needs to be said. And to Scott, that's probably all that does need to be said. As far as he's concerned Stiles can moon over whoever he wants as long as it's not Allison and Scott will still love him just the same, because Scott's just that awesome of a human being. It's probably why Allison's willing to go out with him.
Laura is not so awesome at the moment. Not in a, ew-I-hate-gays way, more of an, I-need-to-know-every-detail-right-now kind of way. And Stiles has been put through a few of her interrogation sessions before so he's almost resigning himself to being put through the wringer when Derek bursts through the door, eyes wild.
Stiles heart starts beating double-time, and not just from surprise, and he wants to smile at Derek but something just seems off about the situation. "Laura! You need to come home right now!" Derek cries to his sister, sounding more distressed than Stiles had thought he could sound. Laura's grin has disappeared and her face is tight with worry.
"I'm coming," she responds, already removing her apron and putting away the ingredients she'd just pulled out. "Stiles, can you just finish that batch and then lock up? I'll do the rest in the morning. We've only got the cinnamon rolls left anyway."
Stiles nods and opens his mouth, but the siblings are already running out the door, leaving Stiles and Scott staring at each other, wearing identical confused expressions, which doesn't happen all too often. Scott shrugs and gets up to start washing dishes, knowing that their evening baking session is drawing to a close. Stiles wishes he could push it out of his mind that quickly but it stays with him as he finishes his scones and then cleans up the kitchen with Scott before locking the doors behind them with the key that Laura had entrusted to him only the week before.
That look on Derek's face, the pinched worry, stays at the front of his mind that night as he tosses and turns trying to sleep. He can't think of anything that would put it there short of a family member getting hurt or sick, and he really, really hopes it wasn't that. But for some reason Stiles can't help but worry more about Derek than he does about Laura, who he actually knows well and sees on a daily basis.
The next morning Stiles shows up at the bakery only to discover that Laura hasn't opened yet. The lights are all off, even the ones in her apartment above the shop. Luckily, Stiles has that key and lets himself in, feeling a little weirded out by the fact that Laura isn't there. But he figures that whatever happened the night before must have caused her to stay the night in her childhood home or something, anything normal that wouldn't make him totally nervous.
He gets everything set up anyway, and ends up making the cinnamon rolls that Laura had promised she'd make in the morning. It's Saturday so they don't open until midmorning, so it's not like he doesn't have plenty of time. Doesn't mean he's not really, really worried about Laura, and maybe Derek too.
A couple of times he tries knocking on the door to her apartment, hoping that maybe she's there and just overslept. That hope dies after the second time, because Laura has super hearing, he swears, and would have woken up after his shouting and pounding. So he spends the last half hour before he's supposed to unlock the door obsessively cleaning the kitchen and arranging pastries, trying not to brood.
Because brooding is not a good look on him. Stiles is pretty sure it would look amazing on Derek, okay, he knows it looks amazing on Derek, but on Stiles? No. It just does not work. Normally when he's feeling like this he babbles to whoever happens to be nearby but of course no one is there, that's the entire reason he needs to babble. Which is just Stiles' luck.
Finally the phone rings and he scrambles to pick it up. "Hello?" he asks, a little breathlessly and totally forgetting about the greeting that Laura likes to use. He's a little distracted at the moment, he'll willing take the scolding from Laura if she would just show up.
"Stiles? This is Laura's Uncle Peter," the voice on the other end says and Stiles' heart might just start going double time. Things are not good if Laura's creepy uncle is calling.
Peter Hale's come in a few times and while he might be kind of hot he also kind of creeps Stiles out. It's the way he watches Stiles constantly, as if he were a helpless bunny and he was a hungry wolf. Stiles also doesn't like the way he looks at Laura, as if he's constantly assessing her and she never quite measures up. He does the same thing with Derek, Stiles noticed the one time they were both in the bakery together. In any case, Stiles really doesn't like Creepy Uncle Peter.
"Hello. Is Laura with you? She's not here and I was starting to get worried," Stiles says, resisting the urge to babble in a way he never quite manages when Derek is around. "I was also wondering if I should open or not."
Peter kind of chuckles at that, which is so not okay, because Stiles is legitimately worried and has voiced legitimate concerns. "She's fine, no need to worry. Just a family emergency last night and she ended up sleeping at home and forgot to set an alarm. She and Derek just left and should be there soon, I just thought I should give you some notice."
Knowledge of the situation has always calmed Stiles down and this time is no different. Although it strikes him as odd that Peter would be the one who called, considering he mentioned that Derek was with Laura, so one of them should have been free to call. But hey, whatever, maybe their cell phones died. Plenty of explanations available now that he knew his boss and her hot brother weren't lying dead in a ditch somewhere.
"Alright, thanks for the heads up," Stiles replies and then kind of trails off because he's not sure how to end this conversation.
"You're welcome. Goodbye, Stiles," Peter says and Stiles' creeper senses go off again with the way he says his name but it's not like Stiles can do anything about it.
"Bye Peter, thanks again." Stiles hangs up and turns to survey the bakery, to make sure that everything's ready for his boss to show, not that he knew she was actually going to show. He's totally calm and ready for today, or at least he was until something big and furry crashes through the front window.
Stiles is standing with his back flat against the wall, with the counter and display case safely between him and whatever the hell just crashed through the window. His heart rate is through the roof and the thing is standing up, shaking off the shattered glass that is clinging to its clothes. Because, apparently, huge, furry things like to wear torn jeans and ripped flannel now. That was cool with Stiles, he didn't judge.
What was not cool with Stiles was that the thing had turned around and was now looking right at Stiles and his mind was trying to tell him that there was a werewolf in the bakery, but it just wasn't connecting. Until the werewolf growled and stalked forward towards Stiles and Stiles let out a totally manly shriek and grabbed the large knife that was on the counter next to him.
"Back, Jacob Black, stay back. I'm armed," he managed through bloodless lips and let out a little "oh my god" when the werewolf literally jumped up onto the counter from like five feet away and landed in a crouch, his face only a few feet from Stiles'. "Nice werewolf, you don't want to eat me, not when there's all these tasty treats, right?"
The werewolf let out another growl and Stiles flinched, letting out another manly squeak, before trying to edge towards the door to the back. He stopped pretty quickly when the werewolf let out an even more menacing growl.
"Stiles!" Laura's voice cut through his panic and he looked up to see her standing in the doorway, with Derek right at her shoulder. Stiles was about to tell them to run when Laura's eyes flared a bright red. "Back away, rogue, and we might be merciful."
That's when Stiles brain short-circuits because the werewolf howls and tries to jump at Stiles but Derek is suddenly a lot furrier and toothier and is knocking the werewolf out of midair which looks as cool as it sounds. The two of them are rolling around on the ground, trying to rip each other apart and manage to shatter the display case and ruin all the pastries while they're going at it.
Stiles is pretty sure that the fact that he notices the pastries is because his brain is in shock and he's trying to cope by noticing the ridiculous things. He notes that thought as well, surprised that this is how he reacts to shock, by noticing all the details. Then Laura's standing in front of him too and he can see her newly elongated ears sticking out from her hair and he's beginning to feel a little faint because he's pretty good with rolling with the punches, but this is a few punches too many.
So he really can't be blamed for freaking out when Derek's got the other werewolf pinned to the ground by its (his?) throat and Laura is standing there, completely human again and acting completely calm. "Oh my god," he says, because that's possibly all his brain can manage at the moment. "Oh my god, oh my god!"
"Quiet, Stiles," Laura snaps at him and he shuts up like he always does when she says that because it's like a conditioned response. It doesn't stop the internal freak out. "This is my territory, why are you here?" she demands from the guy pinned to the ground and Derek must let up a bit on the pressure on his throat cause he actually manages to answer.
"Your scent's all over this place and that human and you don't even leave him guarded? It was too easy of a target, I didn't even need the directions," he spits out and for some reason Laura gets mad and before Stiles can blink she's ripped his throat out.
Derek steps back and looks at Stiles, his face going back to normal and for some reason that makes Stiles feel a little better, even though it really shouldn't. "Stiles," he says and Stiles is pretty sure there're a hundred things that are conveyed in that one word at that moment, but he can't function well enough to grasp their meaning.
So he lets out a bit of a hysterical laugh because there's pastry cream in Derek's hair and it's smeared all over the body of the dead werewolf. And it looks completely ridiculous. So Stiles laughs, because if he doesn't he's afraid he'll have a panic attack and he really, really doesn't like those.
"Stiles, I really need you to stay calm right now," Laura says, staring him straight in the eye but restraining herself from reaching out and actually touching him, which Stiles is grateful for because if she touched him right now he might actually freak out and that would be more than a little embarrassing. Especially because the man he's got a massive crush is in the room and is a werewolf. Stiles nods back, but obviously his pseudo calm is not fooling her.
"Stiles!" Derek snaps at him and for some reason that seems to do the trick because the black that was encroaching on his visions clears up and he's able to look at Derek again. "Go to the back and get a broom, we need to start clearing this up," he orders and for once Stiles is not going to question the person ordering him around.
"Are you guys actually werewolves? Or is this all an elaborate dream?" he demands, and okay, he really is never going to learn when to stop questioning stuff. "Was there something extra in those brownies last night?"
Derek honest to God rolls his eyes at that and gives Stiles the most exasperated look, as if he can't believe that Stiles is still talking. To be fair, Stiles gets that look a lot, even from Derek a few times in the past. "Just go, Stiles. We'll explain later."
He's pretty sure that's all he's going to get because both Laura and Derek have started examining the dead werewolf, which is actually even creepier to think about than it is to see, so he goes and gets the one good broom. He pulls down the blinds and makes sure that the sign is still turned to closed before starting to sweep up the broken glass.
He can just barely hear the two siblings murmuring, but he's more concerned with the fact that he's beginning to hear some noise from on the street, including some questioning as to why the bakery is shut up and the blinds down. Apparently no one is looking to closely and Stiles is kind of grateful for that because then they might notice the missing glass and come to check that everything was okay and find the three of them standing there with a dead body.
Which is being packed into a body bag that came out of fucking nowhere. "What are you doing? Are you actually going to hide the body?!" It's safe to say that Stiles has not stopped freaking out, even if he's taking this a lot more calmly than he ever imagined he would have. "Ohmygod you're not going to kill me now, too?! Right? Cause now I know you're werewolves?"
And Stiles really wished that he could control his own mind sometimes because he really wished that last thought had not occurred to him. "No, Stiles. We're not going to hurt you. We wouldn't do that." Laura sounds a little offended, actually, and for some reason that makes Stiles feel bad even though she just helped commit murder right in front of him.
"Oh. That's good," he says, not really sure what else to say, which is kind of a first for him. "Cause I wasn't really sure because you're kind of werewolves and I thought you might have to protect the secret or something."
Stiles has managed to get all the broken glass swept up, but he's looking a little askance at the remains of the display case. "Just leave it. I'll deal with it later," Laura orders and he's really not going to argue now, not that he ever really argued with her before he find out about her fangs. Derek has the body bag slung over one shoulder and is already heading out the back, to where Laura's SUV is parked. "Come on, we'll explain on the way. Besides, now that you know you're going to have to meet the rest of the pack."
That really peaks Stiles' interest and he follows her willingly, although he has a twinge of nervousness that he might be developing Stockholm's. "The pack? You have a pack? There's an actual pack of werewolves in Beacon Hills?"
"Yeah, now come on." Stiles has to sit in the back while Laura and Derek pile into the front and he's really glad that there's a pretty big trunk in this car because otherwise he would have to sit next to the body and he does not think he could handle that, for all that he seems to be dealing with the whole werewolf thing pretty well. He hasn't run screaming, after all. Well, not yet, at least.
They pull into the driveway of the Hale House and he's actually a little surprised to see Derek's Camaro sitting there, because then he has to wonder how they got to the bakery in the first place. He files that question away for later, right now he's got a whole list of them that are a bit more important. And urgently need answers.
Peter comes out of the house to meet them, along with two other people that Stiles has seen around town and know to be Derek and Laura's parents. "What happened?" Mrs. Hale asks, giving Stiles a look as if he was the last thing she wanted on her lawn. "What is he doing here?"
"Mom, meet Stiles. He was at the bakery when the rogue attacked, so now he knows what we are. At least he wasn't bitten," Laura offers up, as if the last part is supposed to be reassuring, although Stiles doesn't know if it was supposed to reassure him or her mother. "Why don't Peter and Dad go and bury the rogue while we take Stiles inside for a little chat."
Stiles self-preservation instincts apparently do exist because they are suddenly flaring to life. "Actually, I'd-" he says before Derek cuts him off with a growl. "Never mind," he mumbles and follows Laura, Derek, and their mother into the house. They sit in the kitchen and Stiles is a little surprised to see evidence of a man-hunt spread out on the table in the form of maps, pictures, and other miscellaneous items.
"Sit down, Stiles. This could take a little while," Mrs. Hale tells him, in a surprisingly warm voice considering how welcoming she'd been outside. And then the whole tale comes out and Stiles is actually speechless for once as they explain about werewolves and the Hale pack.
"So, who was the werewolf from the morning?" he asks when they get to the end, because he can only go for so long without asking questions. "You called it 'a rogue' didn't you, Laura?"
Laura nods, but looks to her mother, who had done most of the talking, before speaking. "He was a loner, a werewolf without a pack, and he'd been driven mad. He crossed into our territory yesterday, that's why Derek came to get me from the bakery."
"That does not explain why he attacked the bakery and tried to eat me," Stiles informs her, trying to keep his sarcasm in check. "Or how you two knew he was there."
"We'd picked up his scent this morning and it was headed into town, so we followed it. He probably decided to attack the bakery because it smelled of Laura, and werewolves are driven to seek out their own kind, even when they're insane. Or especially when they're insane," Derek offers, speaking for the first time since they'd left the bakery. "We were just lucky that we got there in time to stop it before it got to you."
Which did not make Stiles feel better in the least, but he was glad that Derek was being honest. If he was being honest about this then it was more likely that they'd been honest about everything else.
"Okay," Stiles says because he's not actually sure what else to say, which is a rare and strange feeling for him. "Okay," he repeats, a little more sure of himself. "So, what now?"
"Now you know and you promise that you'll never give away our secret, or we'll come after you," Mrs. Hale says and wow, okay, maybe there is someone on Earth who is better at growling out words than Derek. Probably because she taught Derek how to do it, which is so not what Stiles should be thinking about right now.
"I'm not going to tell anyone!" he protests, because if there's one thing that Stiles is good at, that's keeping important secrets. Not the stupid kind because he'll give those up any day of the week, but the really important kind. The ones that his dad told him about his cases or this one, the fact that werewolves freaking exist and there's a pack of them living in boring old Beacon Hills.
Derek and Laura look a little smug about his response, as if they expected it, but they keep their eyes on their mother, who takes a long while to say anything. But when she does it's with a welcoming smile and Stiles lets go of a sigh of relief. "Then welcome to my home."
When Stiles gets home that evening he's a little surprised to find it exactly how he left it. Nothing life shattering has occurred at home, it's just his perception of the world that has shifted, ever since that morning with the revelation of the fact that werewolves were real. Which, really, is only a huge deal, nothing big.
He's suddenly glad that Laura had said she'd call him later in the week about when the bakery would be open again, he's not sure he could go into work tomorrow morning and face her without a panic attack. He needs time to let this all soak in, to come to terms with the fact that the guy he's been crushing on all summer can grow fangs and howls at the full moon.
Stiles knows he still likes Derek, probably a lot more than he should, despite that little detail. And that freaks him out a lot more than werewolves did. Because the last time he felt like this was with Lydia Martin, who he's slowly been getting over since starting college. It's a slow process and he hadn't even known it was over until just now, with the realization that he's head over heels for Derek Hale.
Which really, really sucks because once again he's fallen for someone completely unattainable. At least with Lydia he knows he had a bit of a chance, but he's pretty sure that Derek likes girls. There was, after all, the big scandal when his girlfriend, Kate Argent, went crazy and tried to burn down his house with his entire family in it. Because she thought they were werewolves.
Come to think of it, she wasn't actually crazy. They were actually werewolves. But it makes Stiles sick to his stomach to think of that family burning to death in their own home. They might not be human, but they were still people. Even Peter was alright, once you understood that he was a werewolf and the fact that he was protecting his family as best he could when he was being creepy. Not that that made him any less creepy. It did make his witty commentary a little funnier though.
His dad comes home a little while later and finds him lying on his bed, staring at his ceiling and contemplating how his life has just become simultaneously more and less complicated. "I heard about the robbery at the bakery this morning. I'm glad you weren't there."
"Yeah, lucky that Laura had that family emergency and called me off," Stiles offers up the lie that the Hales supplied to cover the damage to the bakery. "I talked to her earlier, she said nothing's missing, he didn't even go up to her apartment where she keeps the safe and the register didn't have any cash that early in the morning."
His dad talks to him for a few minutes before leaving to go change. He offers to make dinner, but Stiles says he already ate. It's true, he just doesn't say that he ate at the Hales. He wonders if anyone will come forward and say that Stiles' jeep was at the bakery for the better part of the morning, but he's pretty sure that the Hales have some way of making sure that no one does.
That night when he falls asleep he dreams of wolves and snapping teeth too close to his face and Derek Hale with frosting smeared on his cheek, leaning over Stiles with a soft look in his eyes that Stiles has never seen when awake. He sleeps much more peacefully after that last dream, and wakes having come to a decision.
He can take werewolves and being attacked, that's fine. What he can't take is the uncertainty of whether or not Derek actually likes him back, because there have certainly been times when Stiles thought he was flirting with him. So Stiles is going to make a plan for the seduction of Derek Hale, because with the exception of Lydia Martin, none of his other plans have ever failed him. And Lydia Martin was an anomaly because she's the only person he's ever met that's actually smarter than him when it comes to people.
It's an entire week before Stiles gets the call that the bakery's opening up the next day and could he please come in and help with the prep. When he shows up it's just Laura there and he's a little surprised that the bakery looks exactly like it did before the rogue werewolf came crashing through the window and tried to eat Stiles. And yeah, he's really got to stop thinking about that if he doesn't want to freak out.
"Hey, Laura," Stiles says, without even raising his voice even though she was in the back. He wanted to test these superwolf powers, see if he could get a handle on exactly how super they were.
"Hi, Stiles!" Laura calls back and he's actually a little surprised that she so obviously heard him. "Come on back, let's get started!"
Stiles dives right into the mixing and the measuring, not talking for once, because his mind is too busy coming up with ways to test Laura's abilities. He's lucky that he's made these pastries so many times that he could do it in his sleep otherwise he'd be having some serious trouble with them. As it is he sometimes notices his hands doing something and has no honestly no idea how the previous step in the process had gotten done because he doesn't remember doing it.
The two of them work in silence for over an hour and surprisingly it isn't Stiles that breaks first. "Okay, just ask. Seriously, it's creeping me out that you aren't saying anything at all," Laura begs, setting down the dough she'd been kneading. "I know you must have a million and one plots rolling around in your evil genius mind so I think it would be better for both of us if you just ask the questions you want to than go through with those plots. And by better for both of us, I mainly mean better for me. You'll probably get the answers no matter what."
"I don't know what you're talking about," Stiles responds in a tone of wounded dignity. It sounds ridiculous, even to him, and Laura cracks up, but she goes back to her kneading. "But okay, just give me a moment to decide what to ask first."
Laura nods so he goes back to frowning at his hands, trying to put his thoughts into order. When he finally does open his mouth to ask that first question it's not the one he expects it to be. "That day, when Derek was helping out and manning the register and you kept trying to talk about how he had feelings for someone but he always interrupted, he could hear you couldn't he? He was doing it on purpose, because he didn't want you tell me about it. Because he didn't want me, specifically, to know, right?"
"Okay, that was not even on the list of questions that I thought you would ask me."
"Yeah, well, I'm right, aren't I?"
"I'm not really the best person to ask about this-" Laura cuts off when Stiles looks up from his mixing bowl and pins her with his most incredulous look.
"Really? You're not?" the sarcasm in his voice is almost thick enough that you could cut it with a knife. "Then why did you spend that entire day bringing it up? You wanted me to question you about it, so now I am. And I'd like my answer, please."
Laura keeps fidgeting and delaying the answer, but Stiles just keeps his gaze fixed on her. He knows it's creeping her out, he just doesn't care. If this is what it takes to get his answer then he's totally willing to do it. "Yes, okay," she finally bursts out. "He has a thing for you."
And the grin the breaks out on Stiles' face is so big that it actually kind of hurts but he can't stop smiling. "Thank you, Laura, for confirming my observations. You have been a big help."
"I should be afraid now, shouldn't I? Please don't tell Derek that I told." Stiles wants to take pity on her and put her fears to rest, but he must still be feeling a little annoyed by the whole werewolf thing so he just smiles at her before going back to his baking. She could stay in the dark and deal with that for a little while longer. He's got bigger fish to fry.
Stiles doesn't do anything with his newly acquired knowledge for a few days. Partly it's because he likes to watch Laura squirm, but mostly it's because Derek hasn't come into the bakery. Which is actually really weird because before the incident he was in almost every day, and that actually makes a lot of sense when he thinks about the fact that Derek apparently likes him. Like, really likes him, has a crush on him likes him.
Sometimes he likes to think that over, just to feel the rush of happiness that comes over him every time he remembers that fact. When Derek finally does come he's out front in the bakery, bored out of his mind because no one's come in at all for the past half hour. They're not even running low on anything to give him the excuse to bake. So he's just leaning against the counter, doodling on a piece of receipt paper.
He tries not to let his heart shoot into overdrive, because dammit he's prepared for this and really doesn't need his own body to betray his intentions to his prey. "Hey Derek," he manages and okay, yeah, that was casual enough. Now he just needs to keep it up, which he can do if he just keeps his mouth shut.
"Stiles." Wow, so he might be half in love with the guy, but Stiles is still aware enough to realize that yeah, he sure picked a charmer. Not. "Laura said she wanted me to come by this afternoon."
Actually, it was Stiles who wanted Derek to come by, but the older man didn't need to know that. Everything was going all according to plan. "Actually, she just ran out. She wanted to go to the bank while it was dead." Laura was not actually at the bank. Stiles had no idea where Laura was and frankly, he didn't really care at the moment. All that mattered was that Laura had gone along with the plan, which she had laughed gleefully over and gladly agreed to follow. "You can just wait though, I'm sure she'll be back soon."
"Oh, and while I have the chance I wanted to thank you for saving me last week from that other werewolf. I realized after I got home that I'd forgotten to thank you and I just thought I should."
"You're welcome. It wasn't a big deal." If Stiles wasn't mistaken, and he was never mistaken, there was just barest hint of a blush on Derek's face, which actually made him look even better than usual. So not fair. When Stiles blushed he got as red as a tomato and looked like one too.
"Oh, but it was. I feel like I should do something to thank you." And here's where the tricky part comes in, because he's pretty damn sure his heart rate's picking up and that is not staying casual. At all. "How about I take you out to dinner some time to pay you back? Since normally I'd just bake you something and that won't work in this case."
The last part is just something he adds on because he can't be cool and casual to save his life. Did he not remember the first few meetings that they'd had? And okay, Stiles can still manage this. He will not blush, he will not make a fool of himself. He'd just asked out the hottest guy he knew and he would get through this, no matter how Derek answered.
"Dinner?" Derek asks in a voice that would have sounded shocked and high pitched if it was anyone else speaking. "You don't need to go to all the trouble, really, it's fine. Drop it."
And really, Stiles would be totally discouraged after that and think that Derek didn't like him after all if Laura hadn't told him that Derek did and if he hadn't known that Derek was awkward at all things resembling actual human interaction. Which was fine with Stiles, even if it meant it was a little harder to get his man, he thought it was adorable.
"Well then how about I take you out to dinner not as a thank you, but as a date?" So Stiles could really appreciate the way that Derek froze and stared at him for a moment, as if he had no idea how this had happened. Stiles was familiar with that feeling, he might even be feeling it right now. And wow, okay, there went calm and casual.
Derek gave him this long appraising look before he broke out into a small smile. "I think I can take you up on that offer."
So Stiles was totally not freaking out about this date. Not at all. It was a totally normal date, just dinner and it wasn't even at that fancy of a place so it was all fine. His date was only Derek Hale, he could do this. Which was why he was on the phone with Scott an hour before Derek was supposed to pick him up, the older man had insisted on driving because he said he didn't trust Stiles' jeep. And whatever, it was the first big flaw in the man that Stiles had found, but hey, nobody can be perfect.
Not even super-hot werewolf lawyers. Who wear leather and apparently volunteer at animal shelters. Of course, Derek was also not so good with normal human interaction and tended to be a little broody and growly. Stiles actually liked that, he thought it complemented his own talkative nature pretty well.
He never wanted to date someone who talked as much as him ever again. That had been a disaster with Lindsay his freshman year, they'd never even understood what the other was saying half the time because they were always talking over each other. No, broody Derek was a much better match, not to mention that he would probably not end up lecturing Stiles all the time on the merits of vegetarianism like Nate had.
In any case, this was going to go great. He just has to stop freaking out first, hence the phone call to Scott, which might not have been the best idea. "Dude, it's fine. You like him. He likes you. It'll be great. Besides, you talk so much there won't be any awkward silences."
"Scott. You did not just say that. Do you remember how you were before your first date with Allison. Seriously, you nearly had an asthma attack you were panicking so hard," Stiles retorted, although his annoyance was taking the edge off of his nerves. "Don't tell me to chill out. And what do you mean there won't be any awkward silences?! It's the first date! There are always awkward silences. It's like, a law of the universe, or something."
"Whatever you say, man. I gotta go, Allison's expecting me. Talk to you later."
Stiles stared down at his phone in disbelief, okay not really. Scott's behavior when it came to Allison was old news by now. Maybe he should have called Laura instead. Laura would have been helpful. Although, knowing her, she would have also told Derek about his panicked phone call. So Scott was the better of two not so great options. He really needed new friends.
"Stiles! Someone's at the door for you!" his dad called from downstairs, cutting into his thoughts. He gave the clock a quick glare for not telling him that it was time for his date before glancing in the mirror and running down the stairs, slowing just before he came into sight.
And there stood Derek. At his front door with his dad there, still in uniform and a gun on his hip. If only the sheriff knew just how nonthreatening that was to a werewolf. "Ready to go?" Derek asked and Stiles could hear the tension in there and that totally made him feel better, because if Derek was nervous too then Stiles should definitely be nervous.
"Yeah," and he had to swallow a lump in his throat in order to get the words out.
"Have fun, and Stiles, try to be home before two in the morning. Don't be too loud when you do get home, I've got an early shift tomorrow," his dad managed to get out right before Stiles escaped, leaving him bright red in embarrassment. His dad had actually just set him a curfew and he was twenty years old. Not cool.
And Derek actually let out a small smile, as if it was easing his tension that his dad was being so embarrassing. "I'll have him home around midnight, sir."
"Alright then, now you boys have a good time." Stiles actually had to stop himself from letting out a small groan as his dad shut the door in their faces. He'd really been hoping this could all be avoided, because he loved his dad more than anything, but when the sheriff said that he wanted his son home by a certain time, it tended to put a certain amount of tension into a date and Stiles was pretty sure that this date did not need any more tension.
Stiles was on cloud nine as he walked into the bakery the morning after a particularly good date with Derek. They'd gone out to the woods and just walked and talked for hours. It had been amazing. "Good morning, Laura," he called up the stairs as he walked into the back to get himself a cup of coffee. "And how are you this fine morning?"
Laura just fixed him with a look that was half glare and half exasperated amusement before shaking her head and coming the rest of the way downstairs and getting her own cup of coffee. "I hope you know that Derek came over here after dropping you off last night to chew me out. I thought you weren't going to tell him that I told you!"
"I don't know what you're talking about," Stiles smirked at her over the rim of his mug. "I never told Derek anything. And thank you, by the way, for your part in getting us together. Last night was wonderful."
"Spare me the details. I do not need to know any more about my little brother's love life than I already do."
Stiles just shot her another smirk before downing the rest of his coffee and heading back out to the front. Nothing could put a damper on his mood, not even rude customers. Especially not when Derek showed up right when he was getting off, looking ridiculously hot in jeans and a t-shirt. Seriously, Stiles had no idea how he looked so good in everything.
"Ready to go?" Derek asked, leaning his hip against the counter and hooking a thumb through his belt loop. And damn him, he was doing that on purpose, because he knew exactly where Stiles' eyes were now drawn to. He wasn't even pretending to be innocent, not with that smirk on his face.
Stiles just gave him a look before turning on his heel and going to the back. "Laura, I'm heading out, see you tomorrow!" he called before joining Derek in the front. He was feeling especially brave because he hooked his hand with Derek's and tugged him out the front door. "Come on, Sourwolf, I've got plans we've got to get done before the end of the summer."
Derek just smiled at him indulgently and allowed himself to be pulled along. It was already the beginning of August and Stiles was leaving in a few weeks, but they still had some time. And Stiles' school was only an hour drive away, they would be spending plenty of time together. For some reason Stiles wanted to pack things into every minute he had left, because he said he never wanted this summer to end.
After all, he'd be graduating in the spring and wouldn't be coming back to work at the bakery again. Of course, he's pretty sure that he'll end up helping out over winter break, he is dating the owner's brother now. But he still thinks the bakery's name is stupid and he is never ever telling anyone he met his boyfriend at a bakery called A Cookie For Your Heart. That would just be embarrassing.