It starts, on the first day Mr. Stilinski starts teaching at Beacon Hills High, pretty innocent. Hayden sprains her ankle in gym, so Derek gives Liam a note to give Mr. Stilinski, telling the math teacher Derek brought Hayden to the nurse and that she’ll be late for class.
Mr. Stilinski replies by asking Derek if he can make Josh run an extra couple of laps because he kept disrupting class. Derek replies that Mr. Stilinski should use detention, not gym class, when his students misbehave. Mr. Stilinski tells him that spending two extra hours with Josh is more a punishment for whoever is supervising detention than it is for Josh. Derek then tells Stiles—Mr. Stilinski has become Stiles at this point—that he is often the one supervising detention and that he appreciates not having Josh there for once, after which Stiles promptly gives Josh three hours detention.
It keeps going like that. Derek finds a note slid under the door of his office, on a post-it and stuck on top of the paperwork on his desk, shoved in his bag when he gets home, every day. Some are practical, about students and the school. Some are basically nonsense, random facts that have no relation to any of their previous notes (some of these may have scarred Derek for life). Others are cheesy remarks and blatant flirting that always end with a winky face, like “Did you have Lucky Charms for breakfast? Because you look magically delicious ;)” and “If you ran in front of me I would totally take up jogging ;)”.
Derek has replied to every single one of them in kind (except for some those random facts, because there are things nobody should ever know), including the flirting. He’s pretty sure the whole school knows Stiles and Derek are passing notes, or at least all of the staff. Erica, the school librarian, and Isaac, who teaches Chemistry, keep asking him if they can read them and Scott, the Biology teacher and Stiles’ neighbour, became Stiles’ delivery boy when Stiles was sick for a couple days.
Derek has gotten a note every single day, except for today. He’s seen Stiles around school today, but it’s almost time to go home and there isn’t a note in sight. He knows, because he’s searched his entire office and emptied out his bag. He even searched his car. Maybe Stiles forgot? But he hasn’t missed a day since he started working at here. So, maybe something is wrong and Derek should ask Stiles about it. The thing is, though, that Derek hasn’t actually talked to Stiles in the entire month Stiles has worked here. Not once. The first week was accidental, but then, when Derek realized he was developing a serious crush on Stiles, he started avoiding him on purpose, afraid that after all those notes they might not connect like that face-to-face.
He taps his fingers on his desk in a nervous rhythm. He should just do it. Get up out of his chair and walk to Stiles’ classroom. Just… talk to him.
Derek takes a deep breath, pushes himself out of his chair and quickly walks out of his office before he can change his mind.
The door to Stiles’ classroom is open, but Derek doesn’t step through. Stiles is sitting at his desk, facing away from him, staring out the window, the light of the setting sun giving Stiles a golden halo. Derek almost laughs, because Stiles is no angel, but there’s something in Stiles’ pose that keeps him quiet. The slumped shoulders, the slightly bowed head, the more messy than usual hair.
After another moment of deliberation, Derek knocks on the door frame. Stiles jumps almost a foot in the air, stumbling as he stands and turns around.
‘Sorry,’ Derek says. ‘I didn’t mean to startle you.’
Stiles waves away his apology and gives him a wavering smile.
‘Are you okay?’ Derek asks stepping closer. Stiles is obviously not okay, he looks pale and drawn, and now that he’s facing him, Derek can see how rumpled his clothes are.
‘Yeah,’ Stiles starts, but something in Derek’s face must change his mind, because he quickly follows it by shaking his head and sighing, ‘No.’
Derek waits to see if Stiles is going to continue.
‘It’s my mom’s birthday. She died when I was ten,’ Stiles explains.
Derek is in front of Stiles in three steps and pulls him into a hug.
‘I’m sorry,’ he whispers into Stiles’ hair.
Stiles doesn’t cry as Derek holds him, just clings to Derek’s shirt and buries his face in Derek’s shoulder. After a minute Stiles steps back, but doesn’t step out of Derek’s space, keeping his hands fisted in Derek’s shirt.
‘This was not what I expected from our first conversation,’ Stiles says, a shaky chuckle bubbling up.
‘What did you expect?’
‘Suggestive remarks, banter, me asking you out or vice versa, maybe a little making out.’
‘What if we’d had our first conversation in the teachers’ lounge or in the hallway between classes?’
Stiles grins. ‘There are always supply closets, Derek.’
Derek sighs and shakes his head, unable to suppress his own grin.
‘So, what do you normally do on this day?’ Derek asks.
‘Visit my mom’s grave with my dad and then we go get dinner, but he had a conference thing he couldn’t get out of, so it’s just me this year.’ Stiles pulls his hand through his hair, somehow messing it up even more. ‘And I’m not sure I can do it alone. I never have before.’
‘I could keep you company,’ Derek says softly, after only a moment of hesitation. ‘We can do whatever you want.’
‘That would be the most depressing first date ever,’ Stiles snorts.
‘It’s not a date. That’s on Saturday. Today is just me being there for you,’ Derek says. He brings his hand up to Stiles’ face to thumb away a stray tear.
Stiles gapes at him, then shakes his head with an expression Derek can’t quite read. ‘You really are amazing.’
Derek feels his ears grow warm as he blushes. He smiles down at his feet, then looks back up at Stiles, who is still looking at him with that unreadable expression.
‘So, what do you want to do?’ Derek asks.
‘Well, after you change into normal people clothes—’Stiles tugs at Derek’s gym shirt’—the first stop will be the flower shop.’