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i thought it make believe

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Stiles can count on one hand the number of times he's woken up somewhere he didn't recognize.  Those times? Scott's fault and they had always been embarrassing and/or disgusting.  Scarring.  If he was forced to pick a word to describe them, he'd have to go with scarring.

So.

Right now, he's confused.  He's not covered in mud in the middle of the woods, he's not under the pool table at a frat house smelling like Keystone Lite, and since Scott is nowhere to be found...  where the hell is he?

Stiles takes stock of his environment, and the most salient details are this: he's naked, in bed, and he's not alone.

Uh.

Stiles isn't a complete dumbass, he notices other things, too: he's in a hotel room, it's 10:30AM, and in his direct line of sight is an unopened gift basket sitting on a desk and an expensive suit jacket casually draped over a chair.  Together, all those things tell a story, but right now there isn't a single detail as important as the remarkably gorgeous dude snoring at him from the other side of the king-sized bed.  Like, firefighter calendar gorgeous.  Underwear ad gorgeous.  What-the-hell-is-he-doing-breathing-the-same-air-as-Stiles gorgeous.

This is the kind of thing that doesn't happen to Stiles, though obviously, you know, he's always hoped.

So, right, Stiles just stares like a creeper until he remembers that he woke up because he apparently really, really has to pee.  He pulls his hand out from where it's wedged under a pillow and that's when he sees it, the most what-the-fuck detail of all: the wedding ring on his left hand.


"You invited Danny," Stiles says.  "Why would you do that to me?"

Scott still doesn't understand the concept of exes.  This is what happens when you meet your One True Love at 16 and never, ever break up, thus reaching the age of 23 never having experienced having your heart ripped out of your still beating chest.

"He's in the wedding party," Scott says, plaintive.

"He's an usher.  On the bride's side.  That doesn't automatically put him on the guest list for the bachelor party!"

"I'm sorry," Scott says.  "I wasn't thinking.  Forgive me."

Scott looks at him, giant puppy dog eyes brimming with remorse… and Stiles cannot sustain the appropriate degree of righteous indignation when he does that.  Sigh.  He probably wasn't thinking.  He probably just wrote the e-mail (title: "Vegas, Baby!") and added Danny's address right after Stiles' because it was habit, because for the last five years they've come to everything together, a package deal, a unit.

Until two months ago, when Stiles fucked it all up.

"It's fine," Stiles gives.  "Just don't let me do something dumb when I'm drunk." Like beg him to take me back.

Scott says, "I will look out for you, buddy.  I promise you won't do anything you'll regret."


Stiles wants to say that he handles the situation gracefully, but really he falls out of bed, tangling up in the covers and taking them to the floor with him.

He lies there in abject misery and shame until the hot guy he's possibly married to looks at him over the side of the bed.

Stiles says, "Buyer's remorse?" Because of course he does.  He is this awkward.

The guy raises an eyebrow, but doesn't do anything else.  Stiles wrestles his way out of the blankets, grabs his phone from where he spots it on the nightstand, and pretty much sprints to the bathroom to hyperventilate and text Scott in privacy.

Stiles: WTF!!! DUDE YOU SAID YOU WOULD LOOK OUT FOR ME

Scott: SRY MAN WHAT HAPPENED U OK U WER PRETY DRUNK

Stiles: NO FUCKING JOKE

Scott: ISAAC SAYS YOU WERE KIND OF MEAN TO HIM

Stiles: ???

Scott: AND THEN U STORMED OFF AND TOLD US NOT TO FOLLOW U

Stiles: ????????

Scott: AND THEN YOU TEXTED THAT U WERE OK AND THAT U WERE IN LOVE WITH A WEREWOLF IDK

Stiles: ??????????????????

Scott: SO WE THOUGHT U WERE OK.  GLAD YR ALIVE.  ISAAC SAYS ITS COOL U DONT HAVE TO APPOLOGISE

Stiles scrolls up on his text message history and sure enough finds "I'm OK, don't worry, I'm going back to the hotel room" with a timestamp of 1:30AM and "I think I'm in love I think he's a werewolf" at 3:00AM.

Stiles stares at his phone for a while in horror.

Scott: HEY LYDIA WANTS TO KNOW WHY YOU CHANGED YR FACEBOOK STATUS TO MARRIED

Well, so would Stiles.


Lady Gaga doesn't speak to Stiles' soul the way she does to every other gay man in America, which is unfortunate because this DJ is playing a mash-up of her entire first album.

Danny is probably having a great time.  Danny fucking loves Lady Gaga.  He's probably having a deep, soulful connection on the dance floor with a fellow Gaga fan right now.

Stiles nods to the bartender, takes his fifth gin and tonic, and hemorrhages some more money.  Scott's wedding is the singularly most expensive thing in Stiles' life outside of his car.

He finds Isaac sitting at the table, grinning and sweaty and chugging half a bottle of water.

"This place is awesome!" Isaac says.

Stiles mutters, "You're easily impressed."

"What?"

Stiles looks past Isaac's shoulder, catches sight of Scott dancing goofily with some random skanky-looking girl and...  Danny draped all over some pale skinny guy with tattoos and plugs in his ears.

Stiles chugs his drink and shouts, "I said I'm sick of your fucking face!"

Isaac looks gut-shot and sad and OH FUCK Stiles is obviously a danger to society if he's being mean to Isaac.

"I'm going to, yeah, I'm going to go," Stiles says, yelling over the bass line of Poker Face, ugh.  "Don't follow me, dude, I'm an asshole.  You are better off without me."

Stiles stands and flails in Scott's direction until he finally pulls his eyes away from the impressive display of boobs being shoved in his face and Stiles hooks his thumb over his shoulder like hey I'm gonna take off.  Scott nods erratically, gives Stiles an obliviously happy two thumbs up.

Well at least Stiles' bad attitude hasn't ruined his night.


Stiles comes out of the bathroom after like 10 minutes, still naked.  But this isn't Stiles' room, this is one of those super fucking nice places, so he rolls the dice and success! finds a monogramed bathrobe in a closet.

Stiles' exceptionally attractive potential spouse is, wow, ok, still real.  And still in bed.

"Hi," Stiles says.

"Hi," says the guy.

Stiles wants to say something charming and intelligent, something along the lines of whatever it was he said to get the guy to marry him in the first place, but really? he's got nothing.

There's an official-looking document lying on the kitchenette counter, near the Nespresso machine, and Stiles spots it and zeroes in on it enough to make out the words OF MARRIAGE printed across the top.  Oh.

He walks over to it, picks it up, reads a few lines.

Well, his name is certainly easier to spell now.

He looks up, makes eye contact with his husband, says, "I didn't recognize you."

Derek Hale says, "You didn't last night, either."


Stiles doesn't go back to the hotel right away, wanders up the Strip instead, pulled like a magnet to the fountains outside the Bellagio like every other drunk tourist.  Point in case, he has to fight through a throng of Japanese women in kimonos just to get to the front.

And of course he's got Claire de Lune stuck in his head now, because he actually had Ocean's 11 memorized for a while.

A voice says, "Did you know you're humming that out loud?"

Stiles turns towards the voice, discovers it's attached to an exceptionally attractive face, body.

He says, "I do now."

The guy looks him over, takes in his t-shirt emblazoned with the words Best Man in rhinestones, raises an eyebrow.

Stiles says, "Not my idea."

"I would hope not."

Stiles can't quite figure out why he wants to, but he feels the need to explain why he's out here obviously alone, a groom-less Best Man in Las Vegas.

He says, "My ex is in the wedding party.  I am dealing poorly.  With that.  And Scott didn't think when he made up the guest list for the bachelor party.  The one I am obviously hiding from right now."

The guy asks, "She's at the bachelor party?"

Stiles sighs.  "He's there," Stiles says, "Moving on from me.  Visibly."

The guy reacts when Stiles says he, but not in the way where he gets uncomfortable.  Actually what he says next is, "Let me buy you a drink."

This whole scene is a little too much out of a movie because what? Huh? Is Stiles getting hit on by a hot, strange man on the Vegas Strip? That doesn't happen to him.   Danny gets hit on by strange men, Stiles gets the really, you're with this guy? looks.  Men have actually looked from Danny to Stiles and back and said, I hope he has money.  Out loud.

"Stiles."

"Oh," Stiles says, embarrassed to have been spacing out.  "Yeah.  Yes.  Let's do that."


Stiles says, "You remember me?"

Derek nods.

"Oh thank God for that," Stiles says.  "I was starting to think I'd hallucinated the whole thing.   I had therapists, you know, that told me I made it up.   I was starting to believe them."

Derek kind of looks at him, intensely.  He says, "It happened."

Derek doesn't say anything else, and Stiles takes in the room again: the brand of Derek's suit, the embroidered logo on the bathrobe Stiles is wearing, the view out the wall of glass behind the bed.

He says, "Are you possibly...  absurdly rich?" Derek nods.  "I don't remember signing a pre-nup."

Derek laughs, it's a nice sound.

"The money is yours, anyway," Derek says, "You're in my will.  Since you saved Laura."

Stiles momentarily chokes on nothing, surprised.

Derek says, "My kind doesn't have the greatest life expectancy."

That, Stiles knows.


This bar is nice, it's way nicer than the shiny, crowded, Lady Gaga-infested club that Scott picked.

Stiles says, "Ok, you are handsome and buying me things, so I feel like you deserve my best material."

The guy, who still hasn't said his name yet, pours more wine into Stiles' glass, raises an eyebrow.

"I totally saved a girl's life once.  From a werewolf." Oh crap, he's totally drunk.  When he's not drunk he remembers to leave out the part about werewolves.   "It's like, less impressive when you know that the girl I saved was an even more powerful werewolf? but I still saved her! Me! I was 16 and I hit a werewolf with a tree branch."

The guy says, "I'm sure her family was grateful for what you did."

"Oh my God, her family," Stiles says, because really, that's like.  That's the best part of the story, but he usually leaves this part out, too.  "Holy crap.  Her brother is kind of the main reason I'm not dead.  Because the werewolf I hit with a tree branch was kind of not cool about the whole thing and he attacked me a couple days later?  I mean, you'd think I would have gotten over the whole walking through the dark woods full of werewolves at night thing, but um, no.  I was an idiot back then.  Anyway, so the bad guy was all, grr I'm going to bite you and kill you, but then the girl's brother came out of nowhere and he saved me!  And it was way dark, but like, that was how I discovered that I was gay, you know?  Because he was, wow, you have no idea how hot this guy was."

The guy says, "Oh?"

Stiles nods, even though it makes him kind of, well actually really really, dizzy.

"I was totally in love with that guy for years," Stiles admits, "But he disappeared afterwards.  I never saw him again.  Nobody ever believes me, but it happened.  It's why I became a cop.  I'm a cop, did I tell you that?"

"You did now."

"God you're handsome.  You remind me of him.  Anyway, I got over it, sort of, and then I totally, like I broke Danny down until he started dating me.  I figured, right, getting Danny to date me is totally less scary and less work than attacking a werewolf with part of a tree, right?  And it worked.  Until I fucked that one up."

The guy says, "Danny's a moron."

Stiles says, "He wanted to get married, did I say that? Why would I tell you that, I'm sure I didn't say that before.  But I totally, you know, I hesitated, and you know why? It's because of that guy from the woods.  The brother.  I think I'm waiting for him to come back for me and save me.  That's pathetic, right? I'm Bella Swan."

Stiles can see the guy's knuckles turn white where they're gripping the bottle of wine.  He says, "I don't think that's pathetic."  He says, "What was his name?  The brother."

"Derek," Stiles says, "Derek Hale."


"So.  So I get that you were happy to see me," Stiles says, "I'm happy to see you, too."

Really, completely, indescribably happy.

"But...  married?" Stiles asks.  "That didn't strike you as overkill?"

Derek gets out of bed, totally naked, and stalks up to Stiles, the embodiment of every really good fantasy Stiles has had since he was a teenager.   Stiles' mouth goes dry, his heartbeat speeds up and Derek looks at him, smiles like he can hear it.  He probably can.  Werewolves.

"It was your idea," Derek says.

"I have lots of people you can ask, man, sometimes my ideas are terrible."

Derek reaches him, puts his hand on the side of Stiles face, draws him into a kiss.

Derek says, "I let you go once."  He says, "I wasn't making that mistake again."


Stiles is super drunk, like, wow.  Stiles says, "Why aren't you drunk? Are you a werewolf, too? They can't get drunk.  I know everything about werewolves, man.  I looked it up. "

The guy doesn't really say anything, hands some ungodly amount of money over to pay for the wine.

The guy says, "Come home with me."

Stiles says, "OK," and then they're outside. Stiles still isn't sure where they are exactly, he hasn't been paying the kind of attention he should be, but, you know it's been a really long night.

Something neon catches his attention.

Stiles says, "Oh my God, hey, look, it's one of those all night wedding chapels.  You should, wow, you should totally marry me.  That would totally fuck with Danny."

Stiles doesn't know where this idea is coming from, but it's totally, it's totally the most awesome plan in the history of plans.

"Yes," the guy says.  "But not because of Danny."

He looks at Stiles, then, this super intense, sort of crazy look.  It should probably scare him, being looked at like that, but instead Stiles feels drawn to it, drawn in.  He stumbles forward, into the guy, and lands an off-target kiss on the corner of the guy's mouth.

"Not because of Danny," Stiles says.  "How about because it feels right? You know, I haven't felt like this since I was 16."

The guy doesn't say anything, but that's fine, he lets Stiles grab his hand, drag him into the wedding chapel.

It's only when they get to the vows, and he hears, "I, Derek Hale, take you," does Stiles realize he's accidentally, drunkenly made the best decision of his life.


Stiles sends Scott another text.  It says, "Changing my RSVP to +1.  He'll have the steak."