"I don't know, Scott," Stiles said, squinting at the poster. A couple of freshman girls walked by them, tittering. Stiles rolled his eyes. "No, scratch that. I do know. I'm not doing it. Sorry, lo siento, perdon."
Scott whined low in his throat. "You're seriously going to back out because of people like them? Come on, they're freshmen, we're seniors! The embarrassment lies in holding back due to what they might think, not in trying out for a musical."
Stiles gave him a withering look. "That is so not what just happened there. Did you see their faces? They are not going to be respectful fans. They're going to be in the front row, every night, throwing themselves at me. I'm not strong enough to fight off hordes of horny fans, Scott. I'm gonna give in to the first one who gives me her underwear, and where would we be then, huh?"
"You would no longer be a virgin?" Scott asked.
"Shut up! Lawsuits, Scott, lawsuits!" Stiles began to steer Scott towards the produce aisle and away from the community bulletin board. "I'm talking Bieber-level. The requests for paternity tests would boggle your mind."
They both started at pretty much the exact same time – the beginning of the lacrosse season his sophomore year. That was when his relationship with his father took a nosedive, thanks to Stiles's nonstop lies to cover supernatural happenings; and his unquestioned belief that he was attracted to girls, in particular one strawberry blonde goddess, took a major hit in the form of Derek Hale. They'd been simmering, at uncomfortable heats from time to time, for almost two years. And then last week happened.
It was almost Stiles's eighteenth birthday (well, two months, but that was pretty close), which naturally led to Stiles snooping around his dad's room to get a hint about what he was getting. Dad always hid gifts in his room, either thinking it was too sacred or too obvious a spot and therefore safe. Stiles was on to him, though, and looked in the nightstand first, scarring himself for life.
So Your Son Is Questioning His Sexuality? Conversation Tips for Parents! stared up at him, and underneath that was Men Communicating Honestly: Forming a Bond with Your Adult Son. Had it really gotten that bad? They needed books to talk to each other now? And did Dad know about Derek – that Stiles wanted to jump his bones not that Derek was a supernatural beastie? But the piece de resistance was the box of condoms beneath the books.
Holy shit. They were going to have a supportive father-son talk, and Dad was going to give Stiles condoms for all the sex he wasn't having, and Stiles was going to feel like even worse crap for continuing to hold out on him in the werewolf department.
He could stage a preemptive strike. He could ask Scott and Derek and the others if they minded having a well-armed man know they weren't human. He could ignore all of his perfectly valid reasons for protecting his only remaining parent from the truth. He could get a real boyfriend who didn't see him as a helpful kid brother. He could fly to the moon and eat cheese.
He was still quietly panicking about the situation when he went grocery shopping, dragging Scott along to distract himself, and unintentionally setting himself up to audition for the Beacon Hills Community Players.
Back in the 90s, the BHCP mainly did Agatha Christie murder mysteries that attracted an older clientele. They'd experienced a short-lived surge in popularity in the under-twenty-five crowd in the early 2000's, thanks in no small part to Peter Hale as Puck. Switching to Shakespeare was just a brief flash of inspiration, however, and after a rather risqué version of Much Ado About Nothing, Peter got too busy with impending fatherhood to act and then the Hale Family was destroyed. The BHCP became a footnote once again, until Stiles's junior year, when Chris Argent donated money to upgrade the old theater. The cast consisted almost entirely of high school students, despite the fact they were putting on a version of Cocoon.
Word on the street, and by 'street' was meant halls of the high school, was that BHCP was at a turning point. They needed a hit, something big and splashy to put them on the map. It was a matter of pride for Chris Argent and if Stiles had been paying attention, he would've realized that that meant it was for Allison, too. Allison, who, after a year apart from Scott, was finally beginning to thaw. Allison, who would be at rehearsals for hours every day, sanctioned time away from her father.
"So," Scott said the next day at lunch.
Stiles looked up from his Pasta Surprise. Now that they were seniors, they got to sit in the Senior Café next to the cafeteria – a smaller room with round tables, a window, better vending machines and every Friday, the Meat Carving Man. Unfortunately today was a Tuesday.
"Was there more to that thought, hot stuff?" Stiles asked. He wrinkled his nose. Pasta Surprise smelled like old socks to him; he had no idea how the other three managed to sit in the same room with it.
"Boyd has an announcement," Scott said. He'd opted for a vending machine lunch – veggie crisps, pistachios, a Cliff bar and two Snickers. It was lucky he was a werewolf.
Stiles glanced across at Boyd. "Was Boyd going to mention something about it?"
Boyd looked down at his Pasta Surprise.
"Dude, what gives? You're like a blushing virgin over there," Stiles said.
Isaac mumbled something around his mouthful of pasta, it sounded like "Virginia singers" which… yeah, that wasn't it. Boyd cleared his throat.
"I'm going to be the student director for the BHCP musical," he said. "I talked to Finstock about it this morning."
"Oh, wow, Finstock's the director? You're going to be doing all the actual work, you realize that, right?" Stiles asked. Scott kicked him in the shin. "I mean, wow, congratulations, Boyd! Break a leg!"
"Thanks," Boyd said dryly. "Though I should say the same to you."
Stiles blinked. "We still have months to go before lacrosse." He wouldn't have to put up with Finstock until then, thankfully, since they'd agreed as a collective to forgo a fall sport this year, all part of Scott's plan to bolster his academics enough for vet school.
"Scott said you were trying out for Cosmo," Boyd said.
"First off – what?" Stiles shot Scott a ball-freezing look. Scott didn't even have the decency to look chagrined. "Secondly – what? I thought it was a play. Am I, like, the column for 'Ten Things to Do in the Sack That Will Really Turn Him On'? Oh, wait, no, do you mean Cosmo Brown, as played by Donald O'Connor in the seminal masterpiece, Singin' in the Rain?"
"You said 'seminal,'" Scott said, smirking.
"Shut up, it has two different meanings and the same spelling!"
"So you're not trying out?" Boyd asked. And then he frowned.
Stiles hated it when Boyd frowned, as it always dredged up memories of the last time he'd seen Erica. She might be happier as the Queen Bee of a school hundreds of miles away, but her absence made Boyd sad. Stiles would go so far as to say that everything wrong with the world was encapsulated in Boyd's frown. In a moment of weakness during winter break last year, Stiles pulled Boyd aside and told him how the frown curdled his joy and he, Stiles, was going to make it his mission in life to eradicate it from Boyd's wonderful, amazing, platonically-loved face. There may have been some of the Sheriff's whiskey involved in this confession. Ever since then, Stiles was positive Boyd busted out the frown to get his way… but what if it was the one time he was genuinely upset? Stiles couldn't take that chance. It was the same thing with Derek's shutter-eyes, but at least Stiles hadn't been dumb enough to tell Derek that.
"You'd make an awesome Cosmo," Isaac said, eyeing Stiles's still half-full plate of Pasta Surprise. "You gonna eat that?"
Stiles pushed his tray across the table and Isaac gave a crow of delight. The thing was… Stiles loved Cosmo Brown. Singin' in the Rain had been one of the movies they'd used to watch – Stiles, Dad and Mom singing along, never sitting still because they just had to dance. "Gotta dance!" and all that. Cosmo was definitely Stiles's favorite character. It would mean a lot of coordination and grace, though, and sharing a piece of his mom. Scott was looking at him with Hurt Puppy #5 on his face, the one where he wasn't sure if he'd accidentally done something he shouldn't have. And Boyd was listlessly pushing his Pasta Surprise around on his plate. Still frowning.
"I'll do it!" Stiles cried, banging his fist on the table for emphasis and knocking over Boyd's bottle of water by mistake. "Whoops."
Scott grinned at him and even Boyd managed to crack a smile, probably because he'd put the cap on the bottle between sips.
"Awesome," Isaac said. "I'm going out for the old dude who doesn't sing or dance." He ran his fork over Stiles's plate, scraping up the last of the gummy sauce. "I'm gonna grow a mustache."
"Good luck with that," Stiles said, bemused. Isaac couldn't even get a decent five o'clock shadow going.
"I'm doing behind-the-scenes stuff," Scott said, affecting a casual air. "I'll probably be there every day."
Stiles narrowed his eyes.
"When I'm not studying like a… a… thing that studies a lot. A bookworm!"
"Au contraire, mon frère." Stiles poked his finger at Scott's nose. "That was not my we-gave-up-cross-country-which-I-didn't-like-anyway-for-this look. That was my what-part-does-Allison-play-in-this look?"
It may have taken him a bit to cotton on, but Stiles was no dupe. Usually. In spite of his own… distractions.
"I may have heard her tell Danielle that she was trying out," Scott muttered.
"Drop it, Stilinski," Boyd interrupted them. "Auditions are at 6:00. Don't be late." He stood up, grabbing his tray as the bell rang, and walked away. Stiles gaped after him.
"That was abrupt, even for Boyd," he mumbled as he left the café. Scott shrugged and turned right. Isaac waited a moment before turning to Stiles.
"You know how Boyd and Allison are friends," he said, which, yeah, Stiles knew that. Thought it was extremely weird, but he knew it. "She's been talking about Scott more lately. Boyd told me."
Hmmm. This could certainly go in a bad direction.
### Sheriff ###
"So, Mrs. Miller, your cat is now exhibiting… unnatural behavior?" he asked with a great deal more patience than he felt. Mrs. Miller lived next door to the McCalls, though, and Melissa said she was lonely and bored, and he was her personal hero for listening to Mrs. Miller's stories. Not that that was the reason why he did it, but. Well. Melissa always smiled when she said it.
"Unnatural," Mrs. Miller repeated, nodding so hard her glasses slipped to the end of her nose.
"Uh-huh. And it all started when a strange man was outside your house yesterday morning?"
He'd be more worried about the 'strange man' thing if Mrs. Miller didn't call to report every stranger she saw, which was quite a few as her glasses prescription hadn't been updated in over ten years. What was odd was her leaving her cat long enough to get down to the station to complain in person.
"Strange," she agreed. "He was wearing a purple velvet smoking jacket."
Jeremiah paused. That was highly specific.
"Sheriff?" Deputy Marco rapped her knuckles on his doorframe, leaning her head into his office. "Can I see you in the hall for two seconds? Sorry, Mrs. Miller."
"Excuse me for a moment." He leaned down and patted Mrs. Miller's shoulder as he slipped out into the hall. "Not that I don't appreciate the rescue…"
Marco cut him off. "Unfortunately, not a rescue. The mayor called. She said someone's been putting up their own traffic signs around that construction downtown. Hernandez sent me pics."
She held out her phone to him and he quickly thumbed through shots of signs reading things like 'turn left here' and 'take a detour via spring street.'
"Huh," he grunted. "Is it just me, or are these signs actually helpful? The city was supposed to put something up when construction began."
"Yeah," Marco sighed, "but now the mayor's embarrassed that they didn't and some random citizens took it upon themselves to do it."
"And she wants us to find and detain these vigilantes."
Marco nodded. "Hernandez thinks he caught a glimpse of someone through the hardware store's security footage, but he's not sure. The guy looked pretty weird, really short, long purple coat or something."
Jeremiah's eyebrows shot up. "Purple?"
Three hours later, Jeremiah was surveying his newest Wall of Weird when his phone rang. Stiles's face laughed up at him from the screen.
"Do you own a purple velvet smoking jacket?" he greeted his son.
"No, but I totally should," Stiles answered. "If you're hunting for birthday ideas, that wasn't very subtle."
Jeremiah snorted. Purple Jacket had been spotted at six different locations throughout town while Stiles was supposed to be in school. He was… probably not Stiles. Plus, he was maybe under five feet tall.
"What are you calling about, Stiles?" he asked. The thing with Purple Jacket was that everything he was doing was helpful, just unexpected. Cleaning the gutters at the retirement community? That was downright nice.
"Boyd's doing this thing, and Scott is, too, and apparently I've become a lemming! When did that happen, Dad? If my friends jumped off a bridge, would I do it too? I guess so!"
It turned out Mrs. Miller's cat was using the toilet instead of the litter box. Maybe that was unnatural for a cat, but it certainly helped out Mrs. Miller. She didn't have to bend and scoop anymore.
"If my friends took up gun-running, I guess I'd do that, too!" Stiles continued.
"Watch it, bud."
"Just checking to see if you'd tuned me out yet," Stiles said cheerfully. "Anyway, the point: I'm trying out for the musical."
Jeremiah blinked. "You said Scott's doing this? That boy can't sing and dance; Stiles, you have to talk some sense into him."
"First, he's doing like props or something. And second, ouch, where's my 'go break a leg'?"
"Don't break anything," Jeremiah said automatically. "And yes, good luck. What's the musical?"
Stiles hesitated. Jeremiah could hear it over the phone. "Singin' in the Rain," he said eventually.
"Oh," Jeremiah breathed out.
"If you don't want me to—"
"No. No, I think that'd be great." How many Saturday mornings had Julia greeted them with "Good morning! Good morning! We've talked the whole night through, good morning, good morning, to you!" There was something in his eye. "Knock 'em dead, Stiles."
"Thanks, Pop. I'll see you tonight after the auditions, okay?"
"Yeah. That'll be good."
~~~ Stiles ~~~
Actually, Derek being there wasn't the big surprise. He went to a lot of things to support Boyd and Isaac, and the rest of them, really. It wasn't even surprising for him to clap his hand on Stiles's shoulder and wish him luck when it was Stiles's turn to sing and dance. No, the surprising thing was at the end, when Finstock stood up, put his fingers in his mouth, and whistled.
"Listen up, kidlets!" he barked. Stiles glanced around, mentally checking the age of all the wannabe performers. Except for Derek and Ms. Morell, neither of whom had auditioned, they were all high school students. "Now that you're done vomiting backstage and gyrating onstage," Nice one, Finstock, real sensitive, "maybe you can retain some new information. Crew!"
Boyd rolled his eyes but went over to stand beside him anyway.
"This here is Boyd. He's the student director. If he says jump, you come to me and I'll tell you how high." Finstock laughed at his own joke. Stiles exchanged a look with Isaac. Maybe they could arrange for a minor mishap to befall Coach and leave Boyd in charge. "Daniel and Daniel – what is this? You're both named Dan? That can't be right…"
"It's Danielle and Danny," Danielle interrupted him. "We're the stage managers. Lighting, sound, set design – all that shit. And McCall's with us. He's the stage decorator."
Scott smiled sheepishly next to her and gave Stiles and Isaac a very indiscreet thumb's up. Stiles did not fail to notice the tiny smile on Allison's face as she watched them from across the room.
"Right. So. The head crew people there." Finstock waved his hand at them. "Which brings us to choreography. I can't dance. Ms. Morell and Mr. Hale are in charge of teaching you where to put your feet and bust out the jazz hands."
Stiles froze. Derek… teaching him to dance? Derek, with his arms around Stiles? It was a wet dream come true, and a horrible, horrible nightmare. But wait, since when did Derek dance? Stiles distinctly remembered Isaac freaking out last year about Junior Prom and being a terrible dancer. He roped Scott into practicing with him, not Derek. Though, considering it was Isaac and Scott, maybe that wasn't so unusual.
"All right! Auditions are over! List posted tomorrow online. Now scram!" Finstock pulled Boyd over to him as everyone else began gathering their things to leave. Stiles took an involuntary step towards Derek.
"It's okay, I'll wait for Boyd if you guys want to leave," Derek said.
"Boyd Schmoyd. You dance?" Stiles blurted out. Okay, that could've been more diplomatic.
Derek shrugged. "People are allowed to have hobbies, Stiles."
"Knitting is a hobby. Macramé, now that's a hobby! You choreographing a high school production of Singin' in the Rain is…"
"Really cool," Lydia finished for him, joining them with her coat already on. "I'm ready for my ride home, Stiles."
"You guys!" Scott ran up, breathless. "She said, and I quote, that she missed me! She missed me! Isn't that awesome?"
Stiles craned his neck to catch Allison walking out the door. Her audition had been good, definitely the best Kathy Selden there. The stage was set for Scott and Allison, take five. He just really hoped it had a better ending than the first four times.
"Should I have said," Scott continued, "that she decorated the set just by being on it?"
"No," Stiles, Derek, Lydia and Isaac said as one.
Scott managed to look affronted for all of five seconds before another grin broke out across his face. "Rehearsals are going to take a lot of time, aren't they?"
They most certainly would.
Lydia and Scott kept up a lively discussion as Stiles dropped a near-silent Isaac off at the loft (Stiles could totally empathize with his unrequited crush, poor guy) before swinging by the huge Martin house and then Scott's house.
"How'd it go?" his dad asked when he got home. The Sheriff was sitting in his La-Z-Boy pretending to watch a Friends rerun. A case folder was closed in his lap.
"It's in the bag," Stiles said, and tripped over the runner, catching himself with a little jump. "I meant to do that."
"It looked very graceful." His dad turned off the TV. Oh boy. That was Stilinski code for Serious. "Your mom would be so proud of you for taking this chance."
Yup. Those were unshed tears in his dad's eyes.
"C'mere." Stiles pulled his dad up and into a big hug. If he clung a little tighter, well, it was Mom. He still had some calc homework to do, though, so after one more backslap, he trudged upstairs.
Derek looked up from his computer, and kept his commentary to a raised eyebrow when Stiles started like a spooked kitten.
"So," Stiles said, shutting the door and repeating Dignity, always dignity under his breath. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"
"Inside scoop," Derek said. "You got the part."
"I did?!" It occurred to Stiles as he jumped up and down like a 'tween spotting Taylor Swift, that it hadn't once crossed his mind that he wouldn't get the part. It was fate! Still, it was good to know for sure. Derek even smiled as he looked at him.
"Boyd took meticulous notes of each audition and had the whole thing cast before Finstock could finish his pep talk."
"Let me guess – today, we celebrate our independence day?"
Derek snorted and pulled Stiles into a hug. "Congratulations."
Stiles's brain did a weird fizzle and his heart turned over in his chest. He could count the number of times Derek had hugged him on one hand, and they all involved copious amounts of blood. He barely got his arms around Derek before the werewolf was pulling away.
"First rehearsal is Thursday. Bring your dancing shoes."
And with that, Derek was out the window.
^^^ Derek ^^^
It'd been a long time since Derek had been friends with a girl. Hell, it'd been a long time since he was friends with anyone. Lydia was pretty much the opposite of Laura – cutting wit where Laura was the strong silent type, bossy and charming in equal amounts where Laura tended to be passive aggressive. Lydia was an expert in hiding behind her elaborate mask, so icily beautiful on the outside. Laura would've ripped it to shreds, impatient with the subterfuge and unmindful of the beating heart beneath.
Things had gotten a little easier for Derek after he finally stopped trying to be like Laura.
"What'd Dr. Coleman say about the play?" Derek asked over plates of pad see ew.
Lydia shrugged. "She thinks it's good for me to expand my horizons." She reached for her Thai tea. "My father offered me a glass of congratulatory wine."
Derek raised an eyebrow.
"Mom told him he was an idiot."
"So the status quo."
They exchanged grim little smiles at that.
"The only downside to Lina is she doesn't dance," Lydia said, seguing into what she'd wanted to talk about since they sat down to dinner. It was in the unconscious weight she gave her words – a subtle tell that most human ears probably couldn't pick up on. "You'll be focusing on Allison, Greenberg and Stiles."
Derek frowned. He was looking forward to working with Stiles. He was one of the few people Derek felt he could lower his inhibitions in front of – it was the unknown entity of Greenberg, a surprise choice for the lead in Derek's opinion, and Allison Argent – that would prove to be… difficult.
"I can be civil if Allison can," he said. Lydia rolled her eyes.
"So I see. You won't be alone with her, anyway."
"Shouldn't you be extolling her virtues or something?"
"That ship has sailed." Lydia waved her hand dismissively. "You both have dirty hands. I forgive you for your shit," Derek shuffled his feet under the table – one of the building blocks of their friendship was not talking about the kanima fiasco, "and Allison no longer refers to you as the guy who murdered her mother. Not that she's stopped blaming you, but it's not like you've stopped blaming her for being related to her family."
Derek gave her a very flat look and a blush slowly rose up Lydia's neck. She wasn't one to apologize, but she surprised him for the second time that evening.
"I'm sorry," she said. "That was—"
"How was everything tonight?" their waiter asked, coming over and demonstrating a complete lack of social awareness.
"We'll take the check," Derek dismissed him. Lydia stared into the corner of the restaurant, her face carefully blank. Her knee was jiggling beneath the table, her legs too short for her feet to touch the ground. The movement sparked a flare of shame in him. "I'm sorry," he said. "You can tell me anything. Especially the truth."
"I didn't have to be an ass about it, though." She smiled tightly, but tension drained out of her shoulders. "Hey. At least you'll have Stiles there, right?"
"My knight in shining armor," he said dryly, and her heart – blipped. The waiter returned then, distracting him.
He thought about Lydia, and her odd heart blip and the words she said, later that night. Isaac was snoring down the hall and the noise, while usually soothing, didn't help ease him into sleep. His legs moved restlessly underneath the covers until he finally got up and headed to the playhouse.
The basement of the BHCP consisted mainly of one large room, lined in mirrors, with a barre along one wall. Derek stood in the middle of the room and wondered, not for the first time, how he had wound up in this position. Flattery and the frankly disbelieving look on Stiles's face – it was a deadly combo. But honestly, he had decided to do it the first time Boyd brought it up.
Derek left his iPod in his jacket pocket, music loud enough for him to hear, and dumped the whole thing in the corner. It had literally been years since he last danced; if he wasn't going to make a fool of himself, he needed to do something about it. Slowly his stretches brought him back to fall in New York City and the stained and cracked wooden floor in Luscious Lolita's studio apartment, Lolita admonishing him to hold his arms out, maintain personal space, don't look down. Lolita was Lou there, just a middle-aged guy with an overbite and a propensity for taking in strays of all kinds. The cats watched, tails swishing, as Derek learned to cha-cha and merengue, fox trot and break dance because "You should never be predictable, kid."
He ran from a corner of the room into the center of the floor, hands smacking the hard wood before launching him up into a flip once, twice, three times before he ran out of floor and used the wall for one last flip. He blinked at himself in the mirror, not even breathing hard. All around him, the ghosts of his cousins leapt and ran, or danced slowly in pairs or singularly, the same as they'd done in life. His cousin Meg laughed at him, her head thrown back, "You're wild, Johnny, wild!"
He flopped down to the floor. This would be good, to exorcise a few demons.
So the Allison stuff was great, and hanging out with Lydia, Isaac and Boyd even more was awesome, but the best part about doing the play was also the most nerve-wracking. Derek was a very hands-on choreographer, and he and Ms. Morell had divided up the scenes into "Ms. Morell – the dream dance sequence" and "Derek – everything else." Stiles was in almost every single one of those "everything else" scenes.
"Greenberg – watch Stiles," Derek said, snapping his fingers in Greenberg's face to draw his attention to the stage and not the wooden cake frame Danny and Danielle were decorating. "The two of you are supposed to move like you're limbs of the same body, not two left feet."
"Poetic," Stiles murmured.
"Sorry, Coach," Greenberg said, flushing. "Um. Dancer Dude. Mr. Hale."
"Derek," Derek said flatly. Stiles loved it when that tone wasn't directed at him. He almost… no, he didn't miss that.
"Right. Um. Do you think we could… skip… some of this part?" Greenberg asked.
"Whoa, whoa, the montage? Are you nuts?" Stiles couldn't help himself. The montage was sacred! "That'd be blasphemy! The montage is a time-honored tradition, showing the passage of time and attainment of skills in a humorous and fluid manner! It's a damn staple, you heathen!"
"What's your problem with it?" Derek asked Greenberg, ignoring Stiles's impassioned defense.
Greenberg mumbled something under his breath, too low for Stiles to hear, but Derek's nostrils flared. He'd been getting less aggressive when angry, Stiles had definitely noticed – probably a result of the sessions Derek had every Wednesday that Stiles wasn't supposed to know about – but he couldn't erase all of his cues.
"It's a play, Greenberg. If you can't wrap your head around that—"
"You have really good hearing," Greenberg interrupted, his face white. He looked like he was going to piss his pants, which, all to the good, Stiles thought, since he was pretty sure he'd just been insulted by fucking Greenberg. He ran through all the possible things Greenberg could have mumbled and, yup, they were all insulting Stiles.
"That's fine," Stiles bit out, suddenly furious. Whatever humiliating thing Greenberg said, Derek defended him – but Derek had also heard it. "Unlike some of us, I can be a professional. 'Fit as a fiddle and ready for love' – let's go!"
Greenberg promptly dropped Stiles on his ass in the next run-through. Figured. Derek was still chewing Greenberg out when Scott slipped into the auditorium, breathless and straight from the clinic, if his cavorting puppy dog scrubs were anything to go by.
"Hey. What'd I miss?" Scott asked quietly, dropping into the seat next to Stiles.
"Greenberg's a sucky dancer and doesn't want to touch me," Stiles whispered back. "Derek's all 'don't be a prick, Stiles doesn't have cooties' and Greenberg's all 'let's change the most amazing musical ever written to accommodate my stupid insecurities.'"
Scott blinked. "Was Danny there?"
"Was—what are you even saying?" Stiles asked. "Did you hear a word I said?"
"Dude, I've smelled Greenberg in the locker room, okay? When Danny's there?" Scott raised his eyebrows and gave a meaningful nod. "Know what I'm saying?"
"Danny's been building that cake all night," Stiles said, sinking back into his seat. "And don’t ever tell me what you smell."
"Fair enough," Scott said cheerfully. Stiles counted down in his head. Three… two… "So where's Allison?"
Greenberg danced better whenever Danny wasn't around, Stiles figured out, which meant Scott had been right. At least, for most people, that was definitely what it meant, as Allison tripped more when she knew Scott was watching. For him, though, he danced a lot better when it was just him and Derek. For the first time in his life, the urge to show off in front of someone was actually resulting in him… well, showing off, instead of making a fool of himself. Derek helped him with balance and centering himself, and after two solid weeks of post-rehearsal practice, Stiles debuted the run-up-the-wall-and-backflip move for "Make 'Em Laugh" during regular rehearsal. He couldn't help the huge smile on his face when he landed squarely on the ground, looking up to Scott's enthusiastic whistle, a cheer from Allison and the sight of Derek, hanging out at the edge of the stage with an answering smile on his face.
He told his dad all about it that night at dinner, in between rehearsal and his private session with Derek.
"…and you don't have to worry about a thing; Danielle's got this pad all set for the last one. We practiced falling on it like eight times at rehearsal." He took a big bite of his spinach and grinned at his dad, little bits of green dangling from his lips.
"You were rolling across a crash pad with Danielle?" his father asked mildly.
"Um, yeah. And Scott and Allison and Danny. Nothing kinky happened."
"Well, as long as nothing kinky happened…" His dad speared a bit of fish on his fork. It had turned out a bit hard, instead of soft and flaky. Better luck next time! "So you definitely weren't at the corner of Prospect and Tenth today at 4:30, then."
"No, but now I'm incredibly curious about what happened at the corner of Prospect and Tenth. Hey, isn't that where the Love Shack is?"
His dad stopped chewing. "Please tell me you didn’t contribute to its used condom hill."
Stiles's jaw dropped. "I thought that was an urban legend!"
His dad snorted. "It's a thing of legend now. The damn house fell down on itself. Should've been condemned years ago."
It figured the Love Shack would implode before Stiles was ever able to use it for its intended purpose. Dad must have read a trace of regret in his face. "Stiles, you would have sat on an exposed nail." Dad's voice dropped to a mutter. "I swear it's like he's saving people from themselves."
"Who's 'he'?" Stiles asked sharply.
"Just a guy who hasn't committed any crimes," his dad said. "Are you staying in tonight?"
"Maybe, maybe not," Stiles said. "See that? Two can play the enigma game."
"You're very mysterious, Stiles," his dad agreed. "Tell Derek I said hello, and great work on going felony-free."
His dad, ladies and gentlemen, always a comedian. Stiles inhaled the rest of his dinner and ran upstairs to brush the sight and smell of spinach and fish from his teeth and mouth. Not that he was expecting the need would arise for him to put his mouth to use against another mouth, but because Derek had a very sensitive nose.
Derek was doing stretches when Stiles got to the playhouse, and Stiles allowed himself a moment to just watch Derek's grace and form. It was impossible to watch unseen, though, and Derek was soon calling him up to the stage to stretch with him.
Derek the dance instructor was almost a complete one-eighty from Alpha Derek the werewolf trainer, for which Stiles was absurdly grateful. He'd seen Derek training with Isaac and Boyd before, Scott too, on occasion, and no thank you.
"You're looking exceptionally smug tonight, Stiles," Derek said. "How worried should I be?"
"Not at all, my good man," Stiles said, sprawling out on the floor to stretch his long limbs. Derek didn't say anything, just sat there looking especially cuddly in a pair of yoga pants and a white tank top. Stiles caved immediately. "All right, I was just thinking about Dance Instructor Derek in a cage match against Werewolf Trainer Derek. Oh, and my dad says congrats on being felony-free. What song are we working on tonight?"
Derek shook his head, but he was smiling. A little, at any rate.
"'Moses Supposes,'" he said, and inside Stiles puffed up with joy. It was his favorite song to do with Derek, just the two of them jumping as high as they could go. Greenberg still swayed into Stiles on every other verse, but Derek had effortless control over his movements. He even sang along, stumbling over the tricky wordplay once or twice. He had a pleasant voice, nothing to write home about, but he was in key and hit all the notes. Stiles always threw in jazz hands with the final note, mainly to rile up Derek.
"Really, Stiles?" Derek asked exasperatedly. "No jazz hands!"
"Not classy enough for you?" Stiles asked with a waggle of his eyebrows.
Derek snorted. "There is no circumstance where jazz hands are classy."
"What if I turned them into… spirit fingers!" He pounced at Derek, wiggling his fingers, and it quickly turned into an impromptu tickle fest. A really weird tickle fest, as they'd never done anything like that before, and Derek was laughing and Stiles's stomach was swooping with all these feelings. It was the feelings, man. He was totally going to blame them for the idiotic move he pulled next, ducking under Derek's right arm to press their lips together.
It was the first time he'd kissed someone who didn't kiss back.
Stiles lurched away, stumbling onto his butt, a litany of 'oh shit, oh shit, oh shit' running through his head. Derek looked completely taken aback. Not disgusted, not angry, just incredibly surprised, like a walrus had walked up to him on the street and danced the cha-cha. Stiles was a cha-cha-ing walrus.
"Can we forget I did that?" he asked desperately.
"What was that?" Derek asked, his eyebrows crinkling in confusion.
Humiliation galore. For once in his life, Stiles lost the power of speech. He turned tail and ran, and Derek didn't try to follow. Stiles managed to make it home safe by thinking about things like apple trees and plaster and the amount of CO2 emissions that came from pig farms. He mumbled something to his dad before running upstairs to his room and collapsing on his bed. Then he couldn't stop himself from thinking about The Stealth Kiss of Doom.
Derek had looked so surprised – how? How could he possibly have no idea that Stiles… wanted him? Stiles knew for a fact that Derek would be able to smell it on him, which was embarrassing enough. There was only one conclusion he could draw – Derek didn't see him as a sexual being. It was so far out of the realm of possibility to Derek that Stiles was a man (legally, even, in just over a week) with a man's needs. And hair on his chest! He had, like, five, but they were there and they wanted Derek to touch them.
Stiles stretched out on his bed and replayed the past month and a half in his head. Derek touched him. Derek touched him a lot. He didn't do that for Greenberg, and Greenberg really needed the extra help. He was hands-off while working with Allison and Greenberg on Kathy and Don dances, and was strictly professional when showing Greenberg how he should dance with Ms. Morell channeling her inner Cyd Charisse. Derek was way more tactile with the Betas, but super big brotherly. It wasn't like Derek was ever touching Isaac's hips. Of course, he also wasn't teaching Isaac to dance.
Derek would come over, and they'd talk it out, and Stiles would apologize for running out of there. Derek snuck in all the time to talk about… things – werewolf stuff at first, but now they talked about whatever Stiles's brain rambled to. Whatever the kiss had done, surely it hadn't broken their friendship. Stiles was just going to leave the window cracked for Derek's inevitable entrance, and maybe there'd be some awkward flailing on Stiles's part and some grouchy eyebrows from Derek, but they'd be good and Stiles would work on not being ridiculously attracted to and dangerously close to falling for one of his best friends.
Derek just needed to show up.
Stiles finally fell asleep around 3:00 AM, still lying fully clothed on his bed, facing the window.
Stiles overslept the next morning, the Tuesday before the dress rehearsal, and accidentally left his calculus homework on his desk. Going back to get it made him miss picking up Scott and Lydia but they got a ride from Allison, and besides, Stiles wasn't sure he could hide what had happened last night yet from them. He slid into his seat next to Lydia in physics as the bell rung and shot her a practiced grin. She stared back, eyes wide. Oh, crap.
"What?" he hissed as Mrs. Milligan called the class to order, deciding to go for the oblivious route. "I changed my shirt!"
He hadn't combed his hair, though. That was probably enough to send Lydia round the bend.
"Oh my God, you haven't heard, have you?"
"Miss Martin, do you have something you'd like to share with the rest of the class?" Mrs. Milligan said loudly.
"Yes, I do." Lydia stood up and smoothed her skirt. Stiles had to hand it to her. He wouldn't want to interrupt Mrs. Milligan for nothing short of the Zombie Apocalypse. "Everyone, Greenberg left this morning to sing on The Voice."
Stiles's jaw dropped. "What about—"
Lydia held up her hand. "Preliminary reports indicate that he is also dropping out of the Beacon Hills Community Players' production. That is all I know at present. Thank you, Mrs. Milligan."
Mrs. Milligan looked torn between admiring Lydia's tenacity and apoplexy at the interruption. Lydia took advantage of her indecision and sat back down.
"Are you shitting me?" Stiles exclaimed quietly, though not quietly enough, as Mrs. Milligan whacked her yardstick on his desk, signaling an end to Gossip Hour, at least until their lab time half an hour later. An agonizing half an hour. Mrs. Milligan hated teenagers, no doubt about it.
"He called Allison this morning," Lydia said, forestalling his questions as she filled their experimental water balloon with water.
"I can't fucking believe this!" Stiles muttered, slamming the box with their other containers down on the lab bench. "This was my—" He didn't want to tell her about how his mother loved this musical, or about how, at least until last night, it had made him so happy. "How could he be such a prick?"
"Allison was livid," Lydia said. "Greenberg's not even coming to school."
"Wimp!" There were a lot of wimps in Stiles's life right now. He glared at their array of sponges, balloons, boxes and – great, a condom. To remind him once again of all the sex he wasn't having. Lydia filled a child's water bottle and reached for a sponge.
"We're still doing this play, Stilinski," Lydia said tartly. "I have so many funny lines. People are going to laugh, by God."
Stiles side-eyed her. Sometimes Lydia was a little scary.
"Anyway," she continued. "Allison and Boyd have class together right now. They're going to come up with an alternative who'll be way better than Greenberg."
Stiles chewed on his lower lip. They didn't have an alternative. The only one who could do it was Derek, but no way was Stiles going to make the suggestion.
It turned out he didn't have to. He had Spanish with Scott and Boyd right after physics, and Boyd calmly informed him that Derek had volunteered.
"Oh, goody," Stiles said under his breath. Boyd frowned. Shit. "I did not mean for it to come out like that," he said hurriedly. "In fact, kudos to you, Boyd, for rolling with the punches. Rockin' and a'rollin'…"
"What Stiles means," Scott interrupted him, "is thanks, bro. I think this will be even better," he continued, oblivious. "Stiles and Derek have been getting along like a house on fire since the end of last year. I mean, like peas and carrots. Forget I said the thing about the house."
Stiles stared at Scott. He'd had no idea Scott had even noticed his growing closeness with Derek, or would be as casually approving of it as he sounded. Figured that he would remark on it right after Stiles had fucked it up.
"What I actually meant was – Allison!" He seized on the excuse. "She'll have to kiss Derek. How does she feel about that, huh?"
Scott's face fell and Boyd gave him a flat look. "She'll deal," Boyd said. "It's called acting."
"Yeah," Scott agreed softly.
Señor Pardo finally called the class together, effectively ending the conversation.
Stiles had calculus with Allison, Lydia and Danny next, and then their Team Human study group. Allison didn't want to talk about working with Derek, though, and Stiles thankfully joined in the trash talk about Greenberg instead while half-heartedly studying for a physics test with Lydia. Allison got less tense as they talked. Stiles watched her admiringly. Allison was no wimp at least. If she could work with Derek, hell, make out with him in front of hundreds of people despite their history, then Stiles could, too. Minus the making out. Derek wasn't on board for that.
Somehow he got through the day with no one picking up on his odd mood, or at least attributing it to anything other than Greenberg's vile betrayal.
He was almost late for rehearsal, as Scott's duties at the clinic ran a little long and no way was Stiles going to see Derek for the first time since last night without his Scott buffer. He needn't have worried. Derek was the very picture of stiff professional throughout the entire rehearsal, which focused mainly on Don and Kathy scenes because, according to Boyd, Stiles and Derek had done enough one-on-one sessions that he wasn't as worried about the Don and Cosmo stuff. Stiles grinned tightly, not looking at Derek, and sat in the auditorium with Scott and Isaac, prepping for a Civics test.
"Hey, man," Scott said in a low voice. Stiles really had to strain to hear; Scott was probably hoping Derek couldn't. "Does Derek look mad to you?"
Stiles twitched guiltily. On stage, Derek as Don was showing Allison as Kathy the wonders of movie magic, with a fan as a stand-in for a wind machine.
"This is just the cheesy part," Isaac whispered back. "He'll get into the groove."
All three of them looked up in time to see Derek and Allison kiss. It was… pretty horrible.
"Oh my God!" Finstock screeched. "Oh my God!" He gripped his hair in his hands and tugged. "See that? I just had more fun than you did! Oh my God, we're going to need remedial kissing classes!"
"It will get better," Boyd said firmly.
"It sure as hell can't get worse!" Finstock yelled.
Danielle and Danny appeared out of nowhere, grabbed Finstock by the elbows and pulled him off-stage, talking loudly about a lighting problem. Boyd clapped his hands together.
"Lydia!" he called. "How about we work on The Dueling Cavalier scene?"
"I feel bad for them," Scott whispered, as Lydia changed places with Allison, "but at the same time I'm happy that it was the worst kiss ever."
Stiles looked down at his hands. He was pretty sure Derek had received the worst kiss ever last night, actually.
Rehearsal went a little better after that. Stiles and Isaac did some scenes with Derek, and they went okay, except that Stiles couldn't bring himself to look Derek in the eye. He escaped the second rehearsal was over, dragging Scott along with him. He really needed a better strategy to handle Derek.
### Sheriff ###
"Son, you know how sometimes people get lonely? Well, I know this other lonely person—"
No, that sounded desperate and pathetic.
"Son, you're almost a man, and I know you know that men have needs—"
That was about one hundred times worse. Three hundred times. And besides, it was just a lunch! He was just going to have lunch with Melissa McCall. They'd eaten together dozens of times. Just with their sons present at lacrosse team dinners, and before that, Little League events and that one year both boys had been in Boy Scouts. Jeremiah still used the Scout Master's tactful expulsion of Scott and Stiles as the bar for all kiss-off speeches he had to make in a public setting.
Maybe one of the books Jeremiah hid upstairs had some tips for a parent re-entering the dating world.
The jeep rumbled to a stop beside him before Jeremiah even got out of his car.
"Hey, Pops," Stiles greeted him. He sounded a little glum. Rehearsal must have been rough; Jeremiah heard from Deputy Marco who'd had it from Deputy Lars who'd got it from Jeannie at the switchboard – the Greenberg kid was leaving to make it big in Hollywood, and Derek Hale was taking his place in the play. Half the station wanted to arrest Derek again, just so they could have an excuse to ogle him up close and personal, and the other half were convinced he'd gotten away with murder – someone's murder, the story always changed. Jeremiah, on the other hand, had his own suspicious as to who was making Stiles question his sexuality. As to Hale's innocence, well, there'd been a particularly brutal lacrosse game last spring, worse even than Stiles's first game in leaving him bruised and bloody, and Jeremiah knew it was Derek Hale who'd beaten off Stiles's attackers and returned Stiles safely to his home.
"You look beat, kid," Jeremiah said, and slung a companionable arm across Stiles's shoulders as they walked up the front path. Stiles gave him a ghost of a smile.
"You should see yourself, old man," he replied.
Jeremiah reached for the front door… only to have it opened for him by Purple Jacket. A heavy wind pushed at their backs, and Jeremiah felt himself get lifted and tossed into the house.
"Stiles!" he yelled, frantic, calming slightly at his son's equally crazed yell for him. They both landed on the floor in the front hall, the door slamming shut behind them and the wind abruptly dying down. Jeremiah pulled out his gun, scrambling to put himself in between Stiles and Purple Jacket. Everything he did was helping people, his ass.
"None of that." Purple Jacket gestured, and Jeremiah was suddenly holding a daisy and Stiles's phone changed into a squeak toy.
"What—" Stiles started.
"Oh, and be quiet."
Jeremiah opened his mouth, but no sounds came out. Stiles came up to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with him. He wasn't freaking out, which was odd but good.
"Now, gentlemen," Purple Jacket said, smiling, "I'm here to give you a gift. That's what I do! It seems to me you could each benefit from knowing more about the other, so that's what I'm going to give you! For one week, at least. Only catch is you can't tell anyone. Literally, you can't speak it or write it or interpretive dance it. I've been watching you." He waggled his finger at them. "You'd find a way around this if I gave you an inch! So. No inches. Tootles!"
Jeremiah really wanted to say something, but he fell asleep instead.
He woke up the next morning in Stiles's room with no Stiles around.
"Holy crap!" he heard from down the hall. It sounded like his own voice. He jumped out of bed with more spring in his step than he'd felt in years and almost went crashing into Stiles's desk. The door flew open. "Holy crap!" his body said again.
Jeremiah looked down at himself. Stiles's long fingers pinched himself. Jeremiah felt that, because he was Stiles.
"Holy crap, Son."
They decided to go along with it, at least until they could come up with a plan. Stiles tried sending a text about it – to who Jeremiah had no idea, who the hell dealt with magical creatures, anyhow – and got a nose bleed. Jeremiah still wasn't entirely sure he wasn't just dreaming this whole shitshow, but playing along seemed to be the safest option. Stiles looked wide around the eyes when Jeremiah suggested it, and that expression was pretty damn weird on his own face, but agreed after reminding him that sometimes his friends role-played things. Things?
This day was going to require a lot of therapy. It was almost time for school, though, and Jeremiah wasn't going to spend his day as Stiles stuck in detention. He left with an admonishment to be supremely careful and not fire his gun and be respectful to people. Stiles in his body kicked him out with a box of PopTarts for company.
Driving stick. It was just like riding a bike. It should be just like riding a bike. He remembered the mechanics. Hell, he'd just gone over everything with Stiles two years ago. It should be fresh in his memory.
He still nearly stalled out on the way to the McCall house. He was sweating bullets by the time he pulled up and awkwardly shifted into park.
"Dude, what are you waiting for?" Scott asked, appearing out of nowhere to nearly give Jeremiah a heart attack and send his body into unintentional Stiles flailing. Huh. Maybe he didn't have as much control over that as Jeremiah thought.
"Are you practicing for the Ninja Olympics?" Jeremiah asked, and grimaced. That wasn't witty enough. Stiles would've come up with something better. He fumbled for the gear stick and they lurched away from the curb.
"Har, har," Scott said absently. Damn, he was frowning. Had Jeremiah given himself away already? "You smell a little… funky. You sure you're okay?"
The sweat. He'd sweat even more than he'd thought. Well, that was fairly disgusting.
"Just, uh, thinking about tests," he said. Surely there was a test coming up. Scott's face cleared.
"Dude! I am so glad I don't need physics to graduate. Good luck with that, bro. I heard Milligan papers her house with the failed tests of all her classes. They're, like, five inches thick."
Jeremiah snorted. "Dolores Milligan is just a lonely old lady with unfortunate facial features." Scott gaped at him. "Which is something my father would say. Not me! No I say Milligan is a fucking hack!" And now he was over compensating, and he'd probably used the wrong inflection with the f-word, too, it'd been a while. "I'm just, um, thinking about cramming. For the test. Right now."
"Oooo-kay," Scott said slowly. "You must be really worried. You missed the turn for Lydia's."
One U-turn later, Scott laughing like a loon beside him, brought them to the Martin house. He hadn't been since a frankly bizarre incident last year that, of course, had involved Stiles. His hands were clammy on the steering wheel. He had literally no idea what Stiles's relationship with Lydia was like now that Stiles was, allegedly, no longer crushing on her from afar and Lydia's (former?) boyfriend was attending private school on the East Coast. Were they boyfriend/girlfriend? Lab partners? Friends? A combination thereof?
Scott jumped out of the jeep, still chortling, and held the door open as Lydia Martin came sailing down the front walk.
Lydia was… honestly, Jeremiah didn't like her much. She'd ignored his son for years, shown up in tears one night, and then the jeep was mysteriously back in the shop the next day? He wanted Stiles to get what he wanted, but he wanted that to be something that was good for Stiles. Not a girl who didn't want him back. But things had changed since that night and the truly frustrating thing was he had no idea how.
Scott gave Lydia a hand up into the jeep and scrambled into the back seat. Scott, at least, must think highly of her then. Jeremiah fumbled for something appropriately Stilesian to say but her face was getting closer and closer. Her perfume smelled like jasmine – the flower, not the Disney character, he thought inanely. He couldn't kiss her; he'd go to Hell, and now her lips were… on his cheek. Cheek.
"Thanks for yesterday," she said. His brain short-circuited in the amount of time it took her to put her seat belt on and continue speaking. "Milligan's going to cry blood when she has to hand out two A's."
Physics, thank all that was holy.
"Yeah, I'm the study pro," he muttered, and pulled the jeep back into traffic with a stomach-churning lurch.
"Careful, Stilinski, you'll wrinkle my dress," Lydia said, patting herself down.
"Stiles forgot how to drive this morning," Scott announced from the backseat.
"Please. I think we all know why he's distracted," Lydia said with a knowing look.
"I don't know why," Scott said, and thank God for Scott McCall. Jeremiah knew there was a reason the kid was his favorite.
"I'm totally not distracted," Jeremiah said. He needed to work on speaking more. He was being too quiet, but it was hard, driving a stick shift while pretending to be someone else.
Lydia rolled her eyes. "Derek took his shirt off at rehearsal yesterday," she told Scott. "This one tried to say he was practicing walking into things for his number, but it was totally obvious."
"Holy shit!" Jeremiah breathed. The other two ignored him.
"He's supposed to be a klutz in that song. It's funny," Scott protested. "And besides, Stiles has seen Derek without his shirt on hundreds of times!"
"Oh my God, really?" Jeremiah whimpered.
"This is different, Scott," Lydia said. "This is dancing. He's like a graceful, athletic sex god when he dances. It's raw animal magnetism. Hell, I'd hit that."
"You're underage!" he yelled, his knuckles white on the steering wheel.
They both stared at him for a moment, then burst out laughing.
"Now there's the argument for celibacy I've been missing all these years!" Lydia howled. "Don't worry, Stiles," she said, leaning over to pat his arm, "I would never get in between you and your true love."
Scott's laughter subsided. "Stiles doesn't think of him like that."
"No." Lydia straightened back up in her seat. "You just don't want him to. The heart wants what the heart wants, Scott. And I refuse to believe you can't tell what's up with that nose of yours."
Smelling, again? Did Scott have a Super Sniffer? How come Jeremiah didn't know about Scott's uncanny sense of smell? And also, gross.
"Well would you look at that, we made it to school in one piece," Jeremiah announced, inching into a parking space and putting the jeep into blessed park.
Scott and Lydia continued arguing about what things Scott could and could not, or would and would not smell as they walked into school. Jeremiah wanted to pay attention, but it was now time to freak out. Over the years, he'd noticed Stiles's relationship changing with the man, and he had his suspicions, sure, but they were safe because they were just suspicions! Lydia was making it seem like it was much more, and though Jeremiah owed Derek for looking out for Stiles that one time, it was… unsettling. Not on a sexuality level, but on a Derek Hale level. Hell, Jeremiah'd read the books. He knew how to tell Stiles that sexual orientation would never affect their father-son bond, no matter what that orientation might be. But he wasn't ready for Derek Hale.
"Earth to Stiles," Lydia said, grabbing his arm. "Our test, remember? Come on!"
And now he had to recall high school physics. How hard could it be?
~~~ Stiles ~~~
"Morning, Sheriff," Deputy Rogers, one of the post-Matt new hires, greeted him, brandishing a bakery box. "Doughnut?"
"Are you kidding me?" Stiles asked, incensed.
"Uh… bear claw instead?" Rogers asked, eyes wide.
"Don't be an idiot, Rogers." Deputy Marco swatted at Rogers, sending him scurrying away. "I don't think he's ever going to learn, sir," she said, handing him an apple.
"That's the ticket!" Stiles crowed, and took a big bite out of the apple. He grinned at her, mouth full of masticated fruit. He should probably tone down the enthusiasm, judging by the look on her face. He swallowed before speaking again. "What are our overnight numbers?"
She gave him a blank look.
"Concerned citizens? Dastardly deeds? Violent violators?"
She shook her head slowly. "Are you feeling all right, Sheriff?"
"Superb! I just had my yummy apple, and now I'm going to go into my office and do some very boring Sheriff work." And get a grip before Marco sent him to the hospital to have his head examined. He gave her the closest approximation of his dad's 'Trust me, I'm the law' smile and escaped into the Sheriff's office.
A Wall of Weird! He'd made a few last year himself for the Alpha Pack mess. His dad's was a bit more organized, but then his dad didn't need to argue with a bunch of teenage werewolves to get anything up there. Purple Jacket, or PJ as Dad had abbreviated all over the board, much to Stiles's delight, was first spotted in Beacon Hills six weeks ago. None of his actions could, strictly speaking, be construed as illegal. Bummer. Though that also explained why the Wall of Weird was relegated to the corner of the Sheriff's office as a hobby, with no assigned deputy.
Stiles sat at his dad's desk, pulled up his copy of the Beastiary, and began reading up on different kinds of tricksters. He was engrossed in a report of a creature convincing everyone in a small village in Portugal to walk around naked every Tuesday when a knock at his door caused him to start violently and fall out of the chair.
"Jeremiah! Are you okay?" Scott's mom came hurrying into the room and helped him up. Thank goodness it'd just been Ms. McCall. A quick glance in the hall showed that no one else was running in to investigate the ruckus.
"Just, you know, channeling my inner Stiles," Stiles said, rubbing at his back. Wow, that hurt. That hurt way more than it should have. Oh, shit, probably because he was old now. Older. Not old-old. "Um. How are you?"
"Hungry," she said, smiling. Stiles's stomach growled loudly.
"So am I! I should really do something about that."
"You should," she agreed. She was practically beaming. What the hell was she doing here? She wasn't wearing her scrubs, he realized suddenly. And she was looking at him expectantly. Expecting what? Nice clothes, smiling, calling his dad by his first name, showing up at lunch time… holy shit! It was enough for a warrant!
"We're going to lunch!" he blurted out. "Just let me—" He closed down the Beastiary and pocketed the thumb drive. "And—" Thank God his dad sucked at technology. His paper calendar was open on the desk, 12:00 Melissa – Warrick's was written in ink in today's square. Warrick's. They had good soup. He was going out for soup with Melissa McCall on a date, a date which she'd put on makeup and perfume for and was smiling in a way he'd never seen her smile before, not even when Scott's dad was still in the picture.
Switching the bodies of the Sheriff and his son, while technically also not a crime, was going to land PJ in a world of hurt.
### Sheriff ###
"I, um, wanted to be thorough," he said. As it turned out, high school physics was hard. He'd felt the need to explain his thought process for each answer, jotting it out in neatly bulleted lists for every problem. He probably shouldn't have done that, should have made it messier or tangential.
"Being thorough is good," Lydia agreed. She was tapping at the damn phone with one thumb. Jeremiah always got a mess of words too far gone even for AutoCorrect when he did that.
"Yeah." Okay, Stiles definitely would've said more. And ask questions! "Who're you texting?"
"Danny. Team H study group fourth period for history."
"Oh, cool beans." Wait, did people say 'cool beans' anymore? Lydia gave him an odd look. Apparently not. And what the hell was Team H? Team History?
"So," Lydia said, stopping outside a classroom door and leaning in closer, "you wanna make out?"
Jeremiah gaped at her. He couldn't make out with a teenager! He couldn't make out with anyone! It'd taken him literally years to ask Melissa to lunch – lunch, not even dinner – and dear Lord that was today! How the hell had he forgotten? Stiles was going to kill him. He was going to kill Stiles. Lydia narrowed her eyes at him and grabbed him by the ear. Before he knew it, he was being dragged across the hall and unceremoniously pushed into a janitor's closet. Lydia slammed the door shut behind them.
"Who the fuck are you?" she asked, holding her hand up. Her hand, which glittered faintly in the gray light of the closet. "You better answer me. Where's Stiles? If you hurt him, we're going to kill you. You realize that, right?"
Jeremiah's mouth dropped open. The hell? He wanted to tell her to calm down, don't worry, everything would be fine in a week, but the door was yanked open and Scott practically leapt in, slamming the door shut yet again. Scott was…
Jeremiah staggered back against a shelf of toilet bowl cleaners.
"What the hell happened to you, Scott?" he gasped. Scott's face was furry, his eyes golden and his teeth were practically fangs. It was, without a doubt, the worst practical joke Scott and Stiles had ever pulled.
"Shut up," Lydia snapped. "Well?" she asked Scott. "He doesn't look like he's having a panic attack. What do you hear? What's he smell like?"
"No panic attack," Scott agreed, his voice mumbly with his fangs. "And he smells pretty much the same. He smells like Stiles, and his dad, and you and me and Derek, all of us. He always smells like that."
"Hmmm." Lydia tapped a non-glittering finger against her lip. "Possession?"
"Enough!" Jeremiah yelled, using the same voice he employed at crowded crime scenes to restore order to chaos. Lydia and Scott jumped. "I can't tell you what's going on, but it's fine. You, though, you two have some apologizing to do. Throwing me into a closet and trying to scare me with this act? Explain yourselves."
Scott's features… melted, and he was Scott again.
"How'd you do that?" Jeremiah whispered. That was impossible. They'd need an S/FX department for that, or Rick Baker. Was Rick Baker still alive? Alive, and wandering through California high schools to experiment with new makeup. And now Jeremiah was rambling and everything was insane. He'd switched bodies with his son, but Scott's face was unbelievable.
"Sheriff?" Scott asked tentatively, crouching down next to him. Which meant Jeremiah had sunk to the floor at some point without even realizing it.
"How did you—"
"Nope!" PJ appeared in a puff of purple smoke and waggled his finger at Jeremiah. "Can't tell anyone! One week, that's the gift." Lydia grabbed his leg, but her fingers passed through purple smoke. "Uh-uh," he admonished her. "No touching. And while we're at it, you two also can't say anything. I triple dog dare you to try!"
And with that, he disappeared once again.
They were silent for a moment and then Lydia sat down, too, primly arranging her skirt.
"He triple dog dares us?" she asked. "I'll take that dare. You're not Stiles. Close, but not quite close enough. Is Stiles at the station?"
She was taking this awfully well – better than he was taking Scott's furry face. He nodded.
"If you know who I am," he said, "then you know you have some explaining to do."
"Luuuucy!" Scott said in a sing-song voice. "You have some 'splaining to do! Remember when we used to watch that, you and me and Stiles?"
Jeremiah looked at him, his second son in all the ways that counted. He could read Scott like an open book. Scott looked like he was bracing for a blow, despite the memory he'd pulled up like a shield. Jeremiah rested his hand on Scott's shoulder.
"Tell me the truth, son. I don't care what it is." The sentiment came naturally, though he may have cribbed the words from one of the books he got to prep him for a talk with Stiles about sex. "I'll always have your back."
They missed class.
~~~ Stiles ~~~
"I'm glad we're finally doing this," she said. So, first date. Good to know.
"Me, too. And over soup, I mean that's… that's perfect." He grinned at her and tried not to play with his straw or silverware.
Melissa laughed, her light and airy laugh, not the rare full-body chortle. Stiles had always liked all of the flavors of her laughs, ever since he was a little kid.
"This shouldn't be so awkward," she said. Her eyes were still shining. "I seldom go a day without talking to you."
Really? Stiles hadn't known that. What the hell did they talk about all the time?
"It's the soup," he said seriously. "Because you know we're going to have to balance slurping soup and talking at the same time. Soup might wind up on our shirts."
"I have a Shout stick in my purse," she admitted. "Though in my defense, it's basically for Stiles."
Yeah, that was true. Their soup arrived and Stiles tried not to act surprised that his was cold. He promptly spilled some on his shirt. Melissa laughed again, the chortle this time.
"Ah well, like father, like son and vice versa," he said ruefully. Melissa looked really pretty when she laughed. Why hadn't his father said anything to him? Knowing Dad, this had been brewing for a long time. A looooooong time before he did anything. Plenty of time for him to tell Stiles. And Melissa! She hadn't told Scott, because if she had, Scott would've told Stiles and he would've known. Parents and their secrets!
"What's wrong?" Melissa asked, her laughter fading. "Is there something wrong with your lunch?"
Stiles opened his dad's mouth to ask why she hadn't told her son about the date, but hesitated at the expression on her face. It hit him, then, how incredibly lonely both his dad and Melissa were. This lunch date was the first time Stiles could remember his dad doing something that wasn't work or Stiles-related since… since his mom died. And Stiles would never forget how devastated Scott had sounded when Melissa cried in her car after they'd ruined her date with Peter.
"Honestly, Melissa," he said, leaning across the table, "I had no idea it was going to be cold."
She really did have a beautiful laugh.
Well, that had been… strangely nice, Stiles thought as he returned to the station. Score one for Stiles Stilinski. He'd managed to end the date with Melissa without kissing her, but also without her thinking there was anything wrong with that, thanks to the garlic in his soup and because he'd suggested another date – in a week, when his dad was his dad again. Plus, Stiles was definitely going to figure out what PJ was and end this thing early, so maybe his dad would have time for kissing before then. Stiles was cool with it. No need to worry about Stiles! He was handling this whole weird-ass situation with aplomb, both the dating thing and the sheriff thing.
"According to recent polls, our Sheriff is the grooviest! No disagreement here. What are the people on the street saying, Robin?"
"Thanks, Diane! I'm here with Deputy Salter and he says the Sheriff is the best boss ever, and furthermore, they share a cool inside joke!"
"Wow, great interpersonal relations!"
"No kidding, Diane! I have Margie Sawyer here, and she says the Sheriff complimented her on her darling hat and filled out an incident report for her using this super manly purple ink."
"Pretty! What I want to know, Robin, is if he's tough on crime."
"You betcha! Adrian Harris here reported getting pulled over for a moving violation, and wound up paying for three additional outstanding tickets he'd completely forgotten about. Good thing the Sheriff keeps such excellent records. I feel safer already!"
Stiles's daydream was cut short by the appearance of Scott, Lydia and his-dad-as-him at his office door. His body was frowning at him. That was so wrong.
"Hello, son," Stiles greeted him. "And friends of Stiles."
Lydia snorted. "Has anyone bought your act? Stiles?"
Stiles stared at his dad, his good mood fading. "Obviously I'm better at it than some other people. Really, Dad, not even a day?"
"Well, you've had a couple of years to get good at deceiving everyone around you, so this really shouldn't surprise you," Dad snapped back, and ouch. Scott and Lydia exchanged a look and quickly ducked out of the office, abandoning Stiles. "Werewolves, Stiles? Werewolves?"
"I was protecting you!" Stiles protested, floundering. Things had been going so smoothly.
"I may not look it right now, but I'm the adult here, kid," Dad said. "I do the protecting around here."
"And I know that I may not look it right now," Stiles said in his father's quiet voice, "but I'm not completely useless, even if I am a kid."
His dad – his own face – looked stricken. "That's not what I—"
"And I'm sorry. I wanted to tell you, but I just…" He ran his hand through his hair. His father's hair was shorter than his own now and his hand was left grasping at empty air. "I didn't tell you, and then it became habit." It was a bad excuse, but he had a list of reasons he didn't tell his dad, and here in the moment, they were all just out of reach. Maybe he should've read one of his dad's books because they did not talk about this stuff. "And you and I, we don't talk about this stuff. Not about Mom, not about werewolves, not about you going on dates again. We don't talk about the important stuff."
His dad was quiet for a moment. "You don't trust me, is that it?" he asked.
"Of course I trust you!"
"Then why hide your life from me? It's obviously a big part of you."
"I didn't want – look, now that you know, you're going to get involved. You're going to get in the way of some omega or some weird-ass creature we've never heard of – case in point, look at us right now – and you're going to get hurt." He kept talking over the sound of his dad's protests. "I can't lose you. I have to protect you."
"You realize I feel the same way about you?" his dad asked. Stiles's lips were twisted into something that could have been a bitter little smile; he'd never seen the expression before on his face.
"But with this – I could do something about it!"
And just like that, his dad got it.
"Okay," his dad said. "That I can understand."
They looked at each other over the desk for a moment before his father half-rose his arms. Stiles didn't need to be asked twice, and bumped his hip on the corner as he pulled his own body into a Stilinski hug.
"I went to lunch with Ms. McCall," he mumbled into his own arms. His dad drew back, a look of panic on his face, and that expression Stiles was abundantly familiar with. "Shhh," he said. "I'm sure Scott is giving us some privacy but no need to jinx it." His dad nodded slowly. "It went well," Stiles whispered. "She really likes you. I'm really glad you asked her."
"Stiles, I meant to—"
"Don't worry about it. It's okay." Stiles smiled. "I think I understand a bit. And you have another date next Wednesday. Just one thing – you have to tell Scott."
His own eyes widened. "Are you sure?"
"Dude, Dad – Scott loves you. He's going to be ecstatic. You're his Numero Uno male role model and surrogate dad. Trust me."
His dad nodded slowly.
There was a knock on the door, then it opened and Lydia stuck her head inside. "Did you two hug it out? Good."
She and Scott came all the way into the office and shut the door firmly behind them. Stiles searched Scott's face. He was pretty sure Scott hadn't been eavesdropping. He was considerate like that.
"I have to go for an appointment," Lydia continued, "but you three are free to talk amongst yourselves. So talk, and figure out what that thing was. He really aggravated me. Sheriff."
She held out her hand for Dad to shake, blew Stiles a kiss – which was just weird in his current body; Lydia was yanking his chain – and ruffled Scott's hair on the way out.
"That is a very dangerous young woman, Stiles," his dad said.
"You have no idea. Wait. You do." He flashed a grin. "Too soon?"
"Give it a week," Scott said.
"Good one, bro!" Stiles slapped his arm around Scott's shoulders. "Now come here and check out Dad's Wall of Weird. Any of these places ring a bell?"
"Okay," Scott said, eyes roaming the board. "But answer me a question first. This has really been bugging me. How do you go to the bathroom as your dad?"
"Oh, brother," Dad muttered.
"Scott, my man, after nearly eighteen years of peeing, I've found that I can do it with my eyes closed," Stiles said.
^^^ Derek ^^^
It was humiliating, being silently judged by one of his only friends for rejecting the advances of pretty much his only other real friend. The least she could do was tell him, "Hey, Derek, I think you're a jerk for not fucking around with Stiles." She was the jerk here, not him! He stabbed viciously at a tomato in his bowl and squirted himself in the eye.
"You shouldn't try to cut that kind of tomato. It'll only end in tears," Lydia said.
Derek glared at her.
"Moody much?" Lydia murmured.
"All right, Lydia." Derek put his fork and knife down, and squared his shoulders. "Say it to my face."
"Say what?" she asked, her heart rate increasing ever so slightly.
"Say what you've wanted to tell me all night! Something about Stiles?"
Lydia's mouth dropped open and her heart beat pounded in his ears.
"I wasn't planning to say anything about Stiles," she squeaked in a very un-Lydia-like voice.
"I know you're lying!"
"Well, I can't tell you the truth!"
Derek reared back in his chair. So. She didn't trust him, and neither did Stiles.
"Check, please," he said hoarsely.
He pulled out his wallet and threw some bills onto the table without even waiting for the waiter. He left his half-eaten bowl on the table and stalked out of the restaurant. Lydia ran after him.
"Derek, stop being a child! I'm trying to explain here!"
"Oh I get an explanation from you, is that how this works? Forget it, Lydia, I already know what you're going to say."
Don't touch Stiles. It was temporary insanity. He deserves better than you, Derek. The kicker was that Derek had never let himself even entertain the possibility that Stiles could want him. Stiles always smelled half-aroused; it was his default setting. How was Derek supposed to know that was directed at him? So he didn't look at Stiles that way. But now he'd put his foot in the door, so to speak, and Derek was floundering.
"Derek. Please trust me when I say that you don't know what I was going to say." Lydia grabbed at his elbow and he automatically slowed so she wouldn't trip. "I don't know what you were getting upset about back there, but I will tell you what I wanted to say… in a week."
"A week," he repeated.
"Please," she said. She hardly ever said that, and that more than anything calmed him down.
"It has something to do with Stiles?"
"Yes, but it doesn’t have anything to do with you." She gave him a piercing stare. "Why did you think it did?"
"Maybe I'll tell you why in a week," he said dryly, and kissed her forehead. He hadn't lost Lydia. Stiles, well, it was doubtful he'd ever had Stiles. He couldn't miss what he'd never had, but maybe they could work through the kiss thing and be friends. His therapist had just told him he needed to work on positive thinking, even if he thought it was a lost cause.
He dropped Lydia off at her house and headed to the playhouse to get in some practice time. Allison's car was in the parking lot. A late night rendezvous with an Argent; it sent a shiver down his spine. He sat in the Camaro and did some deep breathing exercises before he went in.
Allison was running through the dance steps from "You Were Meant for Me" down in the basement. He watched quietly for a moment.
"You're too self-conscious," he said.
It was the first thing he'd learned, all those years ago in Luscious Lolita's tiny studio apartment. Self-consciousness sucked all the grace out of a dance. Allison whirled on him, her eyes darkening.
"I prefer practicing by myself," she said, her voice brittle and… self-conscious.
"Perfect for a duet," Derek said, and she flushed.
"Just because you're taking Greenberg's place—"
"Stop." He held up a hand and tried not to look surprised when she actually did stop. Looking at her more closely, he could see the lines of stress on her face and tension in her shoulders, always present when he was around. Now, however, something was bothering Allison more than her proximity to Derek. He gentled his voice. "I can help you here, Allison."
That got a defiant sniff out of her. Okay, new strategy.
"I don't want Boyd to look bad," he said. She looked up at that. Allison and Boyd was one friendship he didn't get, but that didn't mean it wasn't real. It didn't mean he couldn't use it to work with Allison without the two of them killing each other. "So. We both want the show to be good for Boyd's sake."
He held out his hand. She stared at it for a long moment before taking it. He pulled her easily into his arms and she went stiff as a board.
"One, two, three," he counted out slowly, ignoring it. Six counts later, she was starting to loosen up. Six counts after that, she was starting to get decent.
"How come you know how to dance?" she asked, sure enough now in the steps they were doing that she could attempt conversation.
"How come you do?" he asked back. "You're the trained killer. I learned backflips."
He spun her out and reeled her back in. Her eyes were flashing but she pressed her lips together in a thin line.
"If I'm a killer, I'm not a very good one," she said finally. "I haven't killed anyone."
Yet. Her heartbeat thundered, flooding her skin with red beneath his hands, and he was suddenly ashamed of hurting her.
"I learned in New York," he said, unable to bring himself to actually apologize. "My cousins were always dancing and I missed them."
And he was lost, when they first got there, and he hated his body, hated how it betrayed him, hated how it bore no scars. If your soul was ripped out of you, shouldn't there be scars? He was at one of those places lost people went when he met Lou, who taught him to get lost in the music instead. After a while he didn't need it as a crutch anymore, but he'd always liked it. Dancing was control masquerading as freedom, each movement carefully planned out until they flowed and became natural.
He couldn't tell Allison Argent any of those things, but she nodded like she knew what was unsaid.
"My mother was a dancer. She signed me up for ballet and gymnastics. The ballet didn't stick."
Once the ghosts of dead family members were given their due respect, an awkward silence fell over them as the song ended. Allison looked like she was struggling to say something. Their hands were still loosely clasped together.
"My mom was a back-up dancer for Duran Duran," she blurted out suddenly. Derek's eyes widened. "I'm sorry," she continued quickly, "I just—"
"Don't apologize," Derek interrupted her. "That was..."
"Yeah." A dimple appeared in Allison's cheek. "I'm trying to remember good things lately."
Derek looked down at her. One thing. He could share one thing.
"My mother owned three pairs of leg warmers."
He couldn't bring himself to tell an Argent any more personal information, but that was enough for another dimple in Allison's other cheek, and when they danced through the song once more, they didn't make mistakes.
### Sheriff ###
He was getting a little embarrassed to discover how little he knew of Stiles's relationships with his classmates. Scott and Lydia he'd known, or at least known about, for years, but Boyd, Isaac, Allison and Danny – according to Scott, they all knew about werewolves. Boyd and Isaac were actual werewolves, and Allison's family hunted them. (When he was the sheriff again, he was going to sit Chris Argent down and have a long talk.) Danny knew about the werewolves, but didn't participate except in case of emergencies.
It was bizarre, how Stiles had lived this parallel life for so long, and he'd had no idea. The worst he'd thought was that they were going to have to have a talk about being attracted to older, former felons. Suspected felons, who were now revealed to be werewolves.
Jeremiah was getting more and more keyed up for meeting Derek Hale while inhabiting Stiles's body. The subject hadn't come up last night, both of them still so overwhelmed by the werewolf reveal, and he regretted not pushing the subject the second he got to rehearsal. He was so lost in wondering how he should act around Derek that he'd completely forgotten he would have to sing and dance, too.
"Bilinski!" The obnoxious lacrosse coach yelled at him the moment he was spotted. "Get those twinkle toes up on stage. We're doing 'Good Morning' with the three of you."
He took a deep breath. He had this whole movie memorized. This was less stressful than that time he'd walked into a robbery in progress. There were no guns out. Scott gave him an encouraging shoulder squeeze as he walked past and joined Derek and Allison on the stage. Derek watched him with hooded eyes and Allison flashed a dimple.
It could have gone worse. He stepped on Allison's foot twice and turned into Derek's space while mangling the lyrics, but he was on key. Stiles was a good singer, a fact that took him a bit by surprise as they didn't really go around singing in their house anymore. They should change that. He was about half a beat behind the other two when the song began and found the groove towards the end. For a first run, not bad.
Of course, they all thought it was a fiftieth run or something. Derek pulled him aside as they set up for a trial run of "Singin' in the Rain."
"I think we need to stop avoiding each other," he said evenly. He had very intense eyes and smelled faintly of a woodsy aftershave.
"I completely agree," Jeremiah said. "The show must go on."
Derek nodded, his shoulders slumping a bit. "Yes. For the… show."
Oh, boy. Jeremiah was right; something was going on between his son and this werewolf. He was going to kill Stiles for not warning him when he had the chance. He should have insisted on talking about it.
"Look, Derek, you're a… reasonable… man. Werewolf. Don't you agree that we should really put this thing on hold and revisit it in, say, a week?"
"A week," Derek repeated flatly.
"Yes. Reasonable, right?"
"You smell weird." Derek frowned. "Fine. Don't tell me what you and Lydia are getting up to. Just promise me it's not going to hurt the pack."
"I wouldn't hurt the pack," Jeremiah promised. He stuck out his hand and after a moment Derek shook it.
"Hale!" The coach bellowed. "Dry run!" He burst into slightly crazed laughter.
"I can't believe they put that maniac in charge," Jeremiah muttered.
"Lucky for us, Boyd's actually in charge," Derek said.
Lydia joined him to watch Derek leap through nonexistent puddles. He had excellent form.
"Lydia," Jeremiah said, unable to look away, "where could we go to have a private conversation around here?"
Lydia quirked a brow at him, but dragged him from the side of the stage, nodding at Scott as they left.
"Jeep, music," she said, and waited until he'd cued up some Led Zeppelin. "Okay, shoot. It's about Derek, isn't it."
It wasn't a question.
"Stiles didn't tell me anything about it," Jeremiah admitted.
"Derek was acting weird last night," Lydia mused aloud. "I think, to be blunt, Sheriff, that Stiles made a move. And knowing Derek, he doesn't think he gets nice things and he probably did something stupid."
"Stiles is a nice thing?" Jeremiah asked.
"Don't you think so?" The streetlamp illuminated Lydia from behind, casting her features in shadows. He couldn't read her, by inflection or by expression. It didn't change anything.
"I think Stiles is the best thing that's ever happened to me. He's loving and loyal and strong and so clever. Nice isn't the word I'd use for it."
Lydia was quiet for a long moment. "You're a really good dad," she said, her voice thick.
Jeremiah leaned across the gear stick and pulled her into a hug as 'When the Levee Breaks' played loudly in the background. She leaned her head on his shoulder.
"I like Stiles's hugs," she admitted.
"Well, you can have as many as you want. Stiles wouldn't mind."
She laughed softly at that. "Derek might."
She tilted her head to look up at him. "What's that 'hmmm' supposed to mean? Stiles is eighteen in just over a week. Is that really your hang-up? It's not the guy thing, right?" She left unsaid that she'd be disappointed in him if it was.
"No, it's… Stiles wouldn't like me to tell you why."
"Stiles isn't here right now."
"You're used to getting your way, aren't you?" he asked, unable to keep the amusement out of his voice.
"It's part of my charm. Now spill."
He sighed. "Someday, Lydia, I hope you're lucky enough to have someone to love so fundamentally it hurts a bit."
She made a small noise, but gestured at him to continue.
"It's difficult to think about anyone being good enough to be trusted with my baby boy. That's just how it is." He cleared his throat. "You probably know what really happened at that lacrosse game last year. Second one he came back from all bruised and bloody, except this time it was Derek who brought him back. I owe him, you see. It's not that comfortable but at the same time…"
"… you know he's the best you're going to get." Lydia nodded. "Well. That clears some things up for me, thanks. For what it's worth, Derek's actually a really decent guy, and he always tries to be better, especially lately. He'd be good for Stiles, if he ever got that stick out of his ass." She reached out and turned off the music. "We should really get back."
He gave her his arm as they walked back inside.
"Tell me something, Lydia," he said. "Do you have some magic powers I should be aware of?"
She stumbled on the smooth sidewalk. "Um…"
"Really?" He'd been joking, but half wondering at how much he had just confided to a girl who, two days ago, he'd neither known well nor liked overly much.
"We can talk about that later. Let's dance!"
~~~ Stiles ~~~
A call came in about a vandalized trash can a block away from Derek's loft, and Stiles was so bored he snatched it up, ignoring the weird looks from his deputies. He'd read the Beastiary twice and gotten nowhere. Scott had visited each spot on the Wall of Weird and been unable to smell or see anything unusual. Stiles was going to investigate the hell out of that trash can.
He also really missed seeing Derek. And talking to him, arguing, hanging out, dancing together. He missed Derek's face and eyebrows, Derek's crazy muscles and depressing clothes; he missed his dry wit and the way he seemed to single Stiles out in the crowd, as if to reassure himself of the other voice of reason in their little group of friends. He had tried so hard not to think about the stupid kiss and its worse aftermath, and had pretty much succeeded thanks to PJ, but the distraction had run its course.
Stiles parked the police cruiser next to the defaced trash can and got out.
"You have got to be kidding me," he muttered.
Someone had done a decent job of painting Oscar the Grouch on the barrel of the trash can, complete with Derek-look-alike eyebrows. Stiles would give them props, if he knew who did it.
"Slow day, Sheriff?"
Speak of the devil. Stiles turned to face Derek.
"He looks a bit like you," Stiles said, tapping the green paint. "Can you see the resemblance?"
Derek frowned, those same eyebrows coming together in a unibrow of confusion.
"Sorry," Stiles said quickly. "Feeling a bit punchy today. Someone replaced the coffee with decaf today; it's been hellish."
Derek's eyes moved involuntarily to the Starbucks a couple storefronts down the road and Stiles seized upon the opportunity. A really stupid opportunity that was going to get him further cursed by PJ, most likely, but carpe diem!
"I was going to get some real coffee," he said, jerking his thumb in the direction of the Starbucks. "Care to join me?"
Which was how he found himself on his second date of the week in his father's body, never mind that Derek had no idea it was a date, sipping a sugary double caramel latte and eating a pumpkin cream cheese muffin. He loved the fall menu.
"So, Derek," he said. "How are you liking the play?"
"It's good, sir." Derek still looked confused and a bit wary. Sir?
"You can totally call me Jeremiah," Stiles said, grinning. He couldn't wait for the first time Derek called his dad that after they switched back. They had damn well better switch back.
"Stiles says you're an amazing dancer. A regular Baryshnikov."
"I don't do ballet."
Stiles blinked. He hadn't really separated out different types of dancers in his head, but apparently Derek did.
"All right, then, Gene Kelly's second coming."
Derek honest to God blushed. It was disturbingly charming, and the only reason he could give for being so discombobulated enough to ask his next question.
"How are things going with Stiles?" Open mouth, insert foot. "In the, uh, play," he added, going for the save.
Derek gave him a piercing look, and only nearly two years of experience dealing with werewolves helped Stiles prevent his heart rate from spiking.
"Stiles is really talented," Derek said slowly.
"Yeah he is," Stiles agreed. It looked like that was all Derek was going to say on the subject. Well, to hell with that. "I've noticed you guys hang out a lot." Leading statements was one of his dad's favorite interrogation techniques. Hopefully it would work on Derek, too.
"Is that okay with you?"
"You only saved his life that time—" Many, many times "—of course it's fine with me."
"Stiles is a good—" Please don't say kid, please don't say kid "—person. A good friend," Derek said haltingly.
Despite the kiss. Despite the kiss, Derek called him a good friend. Maybe Derek would never want Stiles back, but Stiles hadn't completely fucked up what they had. And Derek might have just been saying it to placate who he thought was Stiles's dad, but that really wasn't Derek's style. Stiles knew that much, at least.
"You deserve a good friend," Stiles said honestly. Derek stared at him. "I mean, yeah, that's something everyone deserves. Glad you have him." Stiles gulped down the rest of his latte. "I should get back to work. It was great talking to you, Derek."
He could feel Derek's eyes on him all the way across the street.
"I had coffee with Derek today," Stiles said later that night, and Scott's avatar promptly fell on his ass.
"Are you talking about a coffee date?" Scott asked, flailing in person and onscreen.
"Don't be ridiculous. I don't want to date Derek," Stiles scoffed.
Scott paused the game. "Dude. Werewolf lie detector here."
Stiles sighed and flopped back onto the couch. His dad was still at rehearsal being him, but Scott had snuck out early for some bro-bonding. It'd been awhile. Stiles could almost forget he was wearing his dad's body when he concentrated on the game; it was pretty awesome. Or had been until he'd brought up Derek.
"I want this week to be over," he said softly.
"I know, man," Scott said sympathetically. "You want to have your own tongue so you can shove it down Derek's throat."
"Oh my God!" Stiles exclaimed. "How did you know that? I didn't tell anyone. I very specifically kept this to myself."
"I'm wise beyond my years," Scott said loftily. "Also, I have best friend radar. And Lydia totally kept dropping hints; you haven't fooled her at all."
"Ugh." Stiles looked up at the ceiling. He hadn't been able to keep a secret from his friends in two years. He should be used to it by now. It was time to rip the Band-Aid off: he still wanted Derek and Derek had still rejected him. "I kissed him," he admitted. "Not today, but when I was me. Right before Greenberg left. And he…"
"What?" Scott asked quietly.
"He didn't kiss me back. He looked so shocked. It was so embarrassing." They had some fascinating spots on their ceiling. Had he ever managed to get pizza to stick to the ceiling? It looked like it.
"Derek's an embarrassing kind of guy," Scott said.
"What?" Stiles asked, looking over at him.
"I'm just saying – dude's pretty socially awkward. Maybe he didn't know how to react."
That was… accurate. Derek usually hid it pretty well behind his handsome face, but really he had some fairly bad people skills.
"Say that's true," Stiles countered. "But he still didn't kiss me. He doesn't want me back, Scott."
Scott made a face. "Then he's really stupid. You're a catch, Stiles."
"You are the best friend in the entire world," Stiles said. Scott's cheeks turned a dusky rose. "Seriously, dude, we're talking Derek and kisses in the same sentence. I should give you a medal."
"It's what bros do," Scott said. Stiles wasn't sure about that as a generalized statement, but it was what they did, and they were bros, so it was at least situationally accurate. "Anyhow, I'm sure he'll get his head out of his ass before the wedding."
"Whoa there, tiger. Aren't we getting a bit ahead of ourselves here? As previously discussed, he hasn't even kissed me yet."
"Not your wedding. Our parents'. And then we'll be bros for real!" Scott said happily. Stiles blinked.
"I take it my dad talked to you."
"Yeah, and talk about socially awkward." Scott shivered. "But I'm cool with it. It's like, the best possible thing that could happen, you know? Remember that time we tried to Parent Trap them?"
"Yeah." Stiles smiled at the memory. "We were locked in that closet for six hours."
"Not one of your better plans, dude."
"Hey, it worked! Only seven years later." Stiles fiddled with his remote. "You really are cool with this?"
"So beyond cool," Scott assured him. "You are, too. Right?"
He was never going to be able to call Ms. McCall 'Mom,' and there was no guarantee that, after one soup date, their parents were going to be able to pull it off for the long haul. But. If he was going to share his dad with anyone, he'd want it to be Scott and his mom. No contest. It felt like they'd been rehearsing for a Brady Bunch family for years. The time for freaking out was long past.
"Yeah. I'm cool, too. Now let's celebrate with the virtual killing of our enemies."
Scott laughed as he un-paused the game.
### Sheriff ###
If PJ held to his word, Stiles would be Stiles again for opening night and Jeremiah really didn't have to try that hard. But he'd spent the last few days with Lydia, Allison, Isaac and Derek on stage, and there was no way he was going to muck things up for them by turning in a slipshod dress rehearsal performance.
A rather large part of him was really looking forward to it, too. It was exciting, being onstage and seeing everything come together – like when a case came together, all of the clues falling into place and painting a picture of what actually happened.
Also, he knew Melissa's schedule. The dress rehearsal was the only performance she'd definitely be able to make.
First, though, there was the business of learning how to make them laugh their damn asses off.
"Okay, Dad, it took Derek two weeks to teach me to do a backflip and we have one afternoon," Stiles said from center stage. "So no pressure."
"Thanks, Son," Jeremiah said. He eyed the stage pieces for "Make 'Em Laugh." Both Danny and Danielle had assured him several times that they'd hold, and Derek had put them through a vigorous safety check, running up them and turning over in midair with a grim determination. Safety first! That was a bit heartening on several fronts. "All right," he said. "I've got muscle memory and your energy level in my favor."
"I'd show you how to do it, but I think I'd break your back," Stiles said.
"Derek did it several times yesterday," Jeremiah said and bounced on the balls of his feet a few times to get ready.
"Derek did?" his son asked, and okay. They needed to address that particular elephant in the room before he threw himself at a wooden wall and possibly got a concussion.
"Yes, Derek. Is there anything you want to tell me about Derek? No, I'll answer that. Tell me what happened with Derek before the switch." He crossed his arms and waited.
"I – do I have to?"
"Yes, Stiles, you have to! Look, I'm fine with him being male, being a werewolf and I'm getting there on the whole older, former suspect thing. I've been reliably informed that he's a decent guy. Hell, I owe him for your life, don't think I've forgotten that. So you tell me – what happened, huh?"
He was breaking every rule in his stupid books, but it was hardly as if they'd helped up to now.
"He doesn't want me."
"God, Dad!" Stiles threw his hands up into the air. "I don't want to talk about this! I kissed him, he did an impression of a stone. The boy I like doesn't like me back! Boo hoo, can we dance now?"
"Okay," Jeremiah said quietly.
"What? That's it?"
"You just said you didn't want to talk about it," Jeremiah reminded him. "For the record, I think you're wrong about Derek's feelings on the subject, but we can drop it. Let's dance."
Stiles gaped at him a moment, then marched over and turned on the music. "Sing."
This had been Julia's favorite song from the movie, and as he stumbled over the opening twisty lines, Jeremiah realized he hadn't let himself think about her much over the past few days. His wedding ring still encircled Stiles's ring finger. He should take it off before his date with Melissa on Wednesday. It wasn't fair to… any of them, to keep that constant reminder as a physical barrier.
"Dad?" Stiles asked. The music stopped. "We're supposed to be laughing now, not…"
"Sorry. I'm sorry."
"It's okay." Stiles shrugged his shoulders and thrust his hands in his pockets. "Do you need a… hanky?"
"No, I just – you like Melissa, right?"
Stiles blinked. "I love Ms. McCall."
"Scott and I already decided for you guys. This is the best thing that could happen."
"Yeah!" Stiles put his hands on Jeremiah's shoulders and looked him in the eye. "Look, we'll always have this hole where Mom should be, and we're never going to love someone else like that. But aren't you tired of being so lonely? I am, Dad. We're Stilinskis! We're lovers, not fighters! Guns and mountain ash not withstanding. Ms. McCall makes you happy. You make her happy. You both like soup. Scott and I get to be real life bros. Let's do this thing!"
"I must have done something good in a past life to get you as my son," Jeremiah said, pulling him into a hug. His heart felt full to bursting.
"I think that's from a different musical," Stiles mumbled into his neck. "Come on. Let's teach you how to backflip before we drown in a lake of Velveeta."
An hour later, Jeremiah successfully landed on his feet.
^^^ Derek ^^^
They talked about Stiles, Isaac's fake moustache (he'd failed miserably at growing a real one), Lydia's cat, Stiles, Allison's college plans, Finstock's insanity, Stiles, lacrosse, Boyd's grandma, Stiles, a new club opening up a few towns over that Danny wanted to check out, and movies starring Hugh Jackman. For a group who had a lot of reasons to resent each other, they'd had a surprisingly good time.
He went for a run with Isaac on Sunday morning and when they got back, Derek had a text waiting for him from Stiles, asking to meet at BHCP to go over their numbers. It was their first private session since Monday.
Derek dressed carefully for the event, then berated himself for being an idiot and changed back into yoga pants and a tank top.
He'd thought a lot about the kiss and Stiles's subsequent reaction over the past week, and come to the conclusion that he may have given Stiles the wrong impression. Which wasn't difficult, as Derek hadn't been sure what impression he wanted to give. He still wasn't one hundred percent certain, but he'd been mulling it since his weird coffee run-in with the Sheriff. He'd said Derek deserved a friend. Derek's therapist had been saying that since he started going to her, and Lydia had even said as much, just not in those exact words. But hearing it from the Sheriff was different. Hearing it from the Sheriff was like permission to want something.
He wanted to kiss Stiles again. Well, for the first time, really.
The jeep was already in the parking lot when he got there. Derek walked quickly inside and found Stiles onstage, singing "Moses Supposes" with his eyes closed. Derek moved quietly forward. Stiles's long lashes fanned out across his cheekbones and his hands were clasped together, held tight to his chest. He'd filled out over the last year and had impossibly broad shoulders coupled with a trim waist. Derek must have been blind to never look at him like this before.
Stiles opened his eyes and looked at him.
"I didn't hear you come in," he said.
Derek opened his mouth to respond and froze. He subtly sniffed the air. That was what had been bugging him about Stiles's smell all week – the undercurrent of arousal that always clung to Stiles was missing. And when he replayed the events of the past week in his head, Stiles had been awfully chummy with Lydia. They were friends, he knew that very well. But Lydia had said, and Stiles had said, they couldn't talk about something right then. Something that had nothing to do with Derek but obviously had something to do with the two of them.
He was such an idiot.
"I was." He stopped and cleared his throat. "Are you sure you need the practice?"
"Of course I'm sure!" He folded his arms across his chest. "Look, I don't want to make things weird between us," and here it came. It was like watching a train wreck in slow motion, "but I'm sorry about the kiss thing."
"I – Stiles, you don't have to apologize."
"I think I do."
"I know it was – temporary insanity. You'd rather be kissing Lydia. I get it."
"Look, if we're not going to dance, I should—"
"I did not say you could leave."
Derek stopped abruptly at the note of command in Stiles's voice.
"Now look at me."
Derek's eyes flew to Stiles's face. How was he doing that? And was that… that was affection in his eyes.
"I don't want to be kissing Lydia. In fact, I've decreed a moratorium on all kissing related activities until this play is done. After that, we should talk about this again. Not the Lydia part, the you and me part. Are we on the same page here?"
Derek nodded slowly. His heart, which had been taking a spectacular nosedive, turned a somersault and vaulted into the air.
"Okay." Stiles clapped his hands together. "Let's dance."
### Sheriff ###
Jeremiah could do this. And tomorrow he would wake up as himself. No more high school, thank God.
Boyd came over and slapped him on the shoulder. "Two minutes, you guys."
Allison ran over and gave him a hug. "Is your dad here with Scott's mom?" she asked. "That is the sweetest thing ever!"
"Yup!" he croaked. He was going to hurl. How did he ever think he could do this? This was nothing like giving a press conference. This was literally hell on earth.
"You okay?" Lydia asked, squeezing his hand.
He started nodding like a bobble head doll. Was this anything like what Stiles felt pre-lacrosse games? Because his son was amazing. A-mah-zing. Jeremiah was going to sweat through his costume in thirty seconds flat.
"Stiles." Derek appeared at his side, his hand clasping Jeremiah by the neck and knocking their foreheads together. "Breathe."
Difficult to do when Derek was hogging the air in the immediate vicinity.
"Places!" Boyd called.
Derek released him and gave him a little shove, then deliberately reached out and pinched his ass. It did the trick like nothing else, pushing Jeremiah out of his head and back into his (Stiles's) body.
The play went off with only minor hitches. Isaac's fake moustache fell off at one point, an extra bumped into the scenery at another and started a chain of events that Isaac stopped single-handedly, thanks to werewolf strength, and Finstock catcalled from the audience the first time Derek and Allison kissed. There was something wrong with that man. Chris Argent was going to rip him apart. As for Jeremiah, he repeated a verse in "Good Morning," but it was hardly noticeable with all three of them singing and he tripped a bit during "Make 'Em Laugh," which he managed to play off with none the wiser.
He was leaping around with Derek during "Moses Supposes" when a glance at the audience revealed a familiar purple jacket in the back of the auditorium. He almost lost his footing. PJ waved gaily and put his feet up on the seat in front of him.
Jeremiah immediately ran to find Lydia backstage when the song ended.
"PJ is here!" he hissed.
"Oh, good," she said calmly.
"The show must go on," she said. "Now go get ready for your next number, unless you really want to help me change my dress."
He turned his back on her with a strangled cry.
"Everything okay?" Derek asked, mid-shirt change and wow. Muscles.
"Uh, yeah. I'm just going to…" No wonder Stiles sometimes lost his train of thought when Jeremiah was talking to him, if that's who he was thinking about. Derek gave him a puzzled look, but ran out on stage to dance with the guidance counselor.
Jeremiah tried to catch Stiles's eye from his vantage point in the wings, but Stiles was leaning forward, transfixed. He wouldn't notice PJ unless he was dancing a jig around Derek's shoulders. Jeremiah looked back at Derek and Ms. Morell. They really did look good; graceful and in-step, like two pieces of the same whole. They were beautiful.
The dream sequence ended and Jeremiah got ready to go back onstage. He passed Ms. Morell in the wings, and she nodded at him with a murmured, "Sheriff." He promptly walked smack into a piece of scenery. The rest of the play passed in a blur, ending with ferocious applause and loud cheering, even with such a small trial run audience.
Lydia grabbed his hand when the curtain fell for the last time. "Scott, Derek," she called over her shoulder. "Come with us."
"Wait, Lydia," Jeremiah said, digging in his heels. "The guidance counselor—"
"Is right here," Ms. Morell said calmly, appearing with Stiles in tow. "I suggest we go to the basement for privacy."
"Privacy for what?" Derek asked, crossing his arms. "Jeremiah, are you all right?"
Jeremiah gaped at him. Stiles shot him a sheepish look. "Yeah, I'm awesome, buddy."
Derek swung his head between the two of them, but whatever he was figuring out, their time was running out. Scott came hurrying up, clutching PJ by the scruff of his solid-seeming neck.
"Downstairs," Lydia snapped.
"No need to be so bossy," PJ grumbled as they stumbled gracelessly down the stairs. "I was helpful, wasn't I?"
"That's not the point," Lydia shot back. She stopped in front of a circle that'd been drawn in chalk on the wooden floor. Derek and Scott both shied away from it, but Ms. Morell took PJ's hand and led him into the center of it.
"No, I think it is the point," PJ argued back, ignoring the chalk circle around him. "Stiles," he said to Jeremiah's body, "don't you feel like you can talk to your dad about anything now? And Jeremiah," he addressed Stiles's body, "don't you feel like you understand your son now?"
Derek rocked back on his heels, comprehension dawning.
"Switching our bodies for a week, though inspired, officially got old when you prevented us from saying anything," Stiles said. "Not cool. Points for concept, demerits for execution."
"Ah, well, can't win them all!" PJ said cheerfully. "Am I going away with this lovely lady now?" He gave Ms. Morell's hand a little tug.
She smiled down at him. "Change them back, or I'll skin you alive and drain your blood."
"After careful consideration, I accept your offer."
PJ snapped his fingers and Jeremiah promptly passed out.
~~~ Stiles ~~~
"Holy shit!" he yelped, flailing back in his covers.
"Relax, Stiles," Derek said, sighing.
"What? I'm super relaxed. This is how I wake up every day!"
Derek smiled at that. "Good, because you have fifteen minutes to get to school."
"Stiles! Where the hell are all my pants?" his dad yelled from down the hall.
Somehow, they both managed to get dressed in the right clothes and leave in the proper vehicles, his dad tugging first Stiles and then Derek into his personal space for a peck on the cheek. The hell? Derek nonchalantly climbed into the jeep beside Stiles.
"Okay, you're going to have to spill, here. What are you doing here, and getting kisses from my dad?" His eyes widened as Derek reached into the backseat and pulled out a bakery bag with his favorite muffin from Starbucks in it, plus a double caramel latte. "And feeding me, which, okay you're probably upset, but I'd like to point out here – I couldn't say anything! Literally!! Scott and Lydia just figured it out, but they couldn't say anything, either. What happened to PJ? Did Morell exile him to the next dimension or something? You're looking at me funny. Shit, stop sign."
He slammed on the brakes and Derek reached across their seats to cradle his face in his big werewolf hands and kiss the hell out of him. He tasted like coffee and pumpkin and his tongue was warm and slick in Stiles's mouth and he had to still be dreaming. The car behind them honked three times before finally pulling around them and driving off.
"Whaaaaaaa?" Stiles breathed. Derek stroked his face. Whaaaaa?
"Two things," Derek murmured, and kissed him again. Stiles was gulping for air when he pulled back. "Who's PJ and why aren't you wearing your promise ring?"
Stiles's eyes widened and his mouth dropped open. He needed to – this couldn't be happening twice, what the hell? He stopped and started four sentences before Derek cracked.
"Oh my God!" Stiles exclaimed. Derek howled with laughter. "You asshole! I'd beat you with this bag, but I don't want to damage my damn muffin!" Derek was crying, he was laughing so hard. "That was so damn mean! Wait. My dad. He kissed your cheek! My dad was in on this?"
"Hey, Jeremiah and I are buddies now, Stiles. You better watch your back."
This was the worst thing that could possibly happen. Derek leaned over and kissed him again, started to pull away, changed his mind and deepened the kiss considerably. Stiles was a flushed and aching mess when Derek finally let him up for air.
"That part's real," Derek said quietly, and ran his thumb over Stiles's swollen bottom lip. "And we've been at this stop sign for ten minutes."
"Uh-huh," Stiles agreed. He blinked, trying to focus on the road ahead of them. "So. Wait. You want me back and you're not mad at me?"
"I haven't been mad at you in about a year," Derek said. "I didn't… understand what happened last week. And as Lydia would be the first to point out, I reacted poorly. Yes, I want you. And, you know, we've already had our first date." He smirked at the somewhat flattened Starbucks bag. "This could even count as a second one. Hasn't gone too badly, would you say?"
Stiles grinned back at him, his heart fluttering in his chest. "Yeah, it was pretty good. Better than cold soup."
Lydia gave him a smug smirk when he showed up at school, and Scott and Isaac both did massive double-takes when they smelled him walking down the hall. Isaac gave him a congratulatory fist pump and Scott sighed and gave him a bro-hug. "Told you so," he muttered into Stiles's ear.
Boyd just raised an eyebrow and said, "I hope you haven't forgotten everything after a week off."
"Trust me," Stiles assured him. "I am a dancing fool."
Danny asked for the whole story during study break. Allison smiled and hugged him, and agreed that their dads would need to have a sit-down now that the Sheriff was in on the secret.
"And I'm happy for you and Derek, too," she said. "Don't tell Scott, but he's actually a really good kisser the second time around."
Stiles had a pretty big case of the nerves backstage that night. Opening night, and except for the session with his dad on Saturday, he hadn't done the moves in a week. His dad found him freaking out by a rack of flapper dresses.
"How are you holding up, kiddo?" he asked sympathetically.
"I'm going to vomit over everyone in the first three rows," Stiles responded.
"Well that would be the rest of your lacrosse team, so I would recommend aiming for the side."
Stiles barked a laugh. "You were great last night, Dad. I didn't get a chance to tell you."
His dad pulled him into a hug. "I was just trying to be like you."
"It's almost time," Lydia said, poking her head around the corner. "Hello, Sheriff."
"Lydia," Dad greeted her. "Break a leg."
"I intend to break all the legs," she said, backing away with a smile.
"You and Lydia are bros now, aren't you?" Stiles asked.
"I do believe that's the terminology," Dad agreed. "And you and Derek are – what?"
"Dating." Saying it sent a thrill up his spine. "We've had two dates featuring coffee. And the two of you aren't allowed to gang up on me in the future, you realize that, right?"
"I make no promises. He calls me by my first name, after all."
The lights dimmed and brightened twice.
"I should get back to my seat," his dad said.
"Yeah." Dad turned to walk away. "Hey, Dad?" He paused and looked back at Stiles. "It was – I liked being you. You're a good person to want to be."
"Right back at you." Dad smiled and nodded his head in the direction of the stage. "Now remember the leg you're breaking is only figurative."
^^^ Epilogue: Derek ^^^
The clock ticked closer to midnight and Sunday as Derek stood against a wall, visually checking in with his pack and allies. Isaac was stretched out on one of the crash pads, ostensibly playing strip poker with Danny and Danielle, but he was the only one missing clothes. Derek snorted into his Solo cup. Isaac killed at poker and couldn't get drunk. Well, good for him; maybe one of the Dan's could help him crawl out of his Scott crush. Derek couldn't see Scott, but he could hear the cadence of his voice in one of the dressing rooms upstairs, talking with Allison. Derek was affording them the courtesy of not listening. Boyd and Lydia were one of the few couples still upright and dancing, waltzing in the middle of the floor to a rap song. They made it work.
Derek glanced back up at the clock. 12:01. He left to go search out Stiles.
He found Stiles lying on the ground up in the balcony with the lighting equipment, humming to himself.
"Oooh is that my birthday present?" Stiles asked, sitting up and reaching for Derek's red cup. He took a big gulp and made a face. "Derek. What is this, 7-Up?"
"I'm a werewolf," Derek said mildly. "Were you really expecting vodka?"
"Expecting, no. Hoping, yes."
"Sorry. I guess I'll have to give you a different birthday present."
Stiles grinned at him, his cheeks flushed and eyes bright. He licked his lips, the moisture on his bottom lip shining in the dim lighting of the darkened balcony. "Was that a euphemism?"
They'd made out again after opening night, Thursday after school, Friday after school and again after the play, and then for a solid hour Saturday morning that resulted in Stiles coming in his pants. So. It was kind of a euphemism.
Derek lowered himself to the floor to sit beside Stiles, listening for Stiles's gulp and the uptick in his heart. The air was heady with the smell of arousal and the sticky sweetness of the soda.
"Happy birthday, Stiles," he said.
Stiles just laughed and tackled him to the ground.
"Spirit fingers!" he yelled, tickling Derek through his shirt. This time, when he bent to brush his lips against Derek's, it ended rather differently. Derek got his arm around Stiles waist and his other hand around a thigh and flipped them over. Stiles went willingly, laughing up at the ceiling until Derek rutted against him.
"Shit!" Stiles gasped. "Do that – more!"
Derek chuckled under his breath and attacked Stiles's neck with his teeth and lips as he attempted to get Stiles's pants open. He will still in Cosmo's period costume, which was not suited for quick access, but he persevered and pushed them down and ran his hand over the thin cotton of Stiles's underwear. Stiles's hips bucked up off the floor.
"Oh my God," he whimpered.
"I got you," Derek assured him, even though he was completely beyond his experience, lying on the floor of a theater with a boy, technically a man, who thought he deserved things like friendship and trust. It was a little overwhelming.
"Will you," Stiles asked, finishing the thought by running his hands up Derek's sides. Derek pulled off his t-shirt, having changed out of Don's button-down in anticipation of this moment right here and the need to get naked as quickly as possible with Stiles. The week was up, the play was up, the eighteen years were up. Derek stripped out of his clothes.
"Oh, wow," Stiles breathed. "I get to touch you."
"Please do," Derek grunted, and pulled Stiles's pants the rest of the way off, taking the underwear with them. Stiles was already hard and leaking, and he gasped loudly when Derek settled half on top of him and their cocks brushed. Stiles gripped Derek's hips, his thumbs fitting into the grooves, and thrust up. That was going to end things very quickly, and Derek didn't even have Stiles completely naked yet.
"Hang on," he muttered and kissed Stiles deeply, breathing him in, before pulling back and ripping Cosmo's shirt in his impatience to get it off Stiles. Which meant Stiles was laughing, his whole body vibrating with it, the first time Derek pressed their naked bodies together.
It felt perfect. Even more so when he hoisted one of Stiles's legs around his waist and thrust down. Stiles threw his head back and moaned, leaving his neck right there for the biting. Which Derek did with enthusiasm. Stiles scratched his nails down Derek's back, hanging on for the ride. Everything intensified times one hundred when Derek reached between them and took both their cocks in hand.
It didn't last long after that. Stiles closed his hand around Derek's and moved his other hand up to grip Derek's hair and Derek was gone, eyes opening wide as he fell headlong over the edge.
"Oh my God," Stiles breathed again, before he was coming with a stuttered shout.
Derek kissed him through the aftershocks, trailed his lips down the hickeys he'd made, left sloppy kisses across Stiles's chest, tugged teasingly at Stiles's nipples and lapped up the come that had pooled in his belly button. Stiles's skin was so soft, Derek got a little carried away with licking it.
"Um, Derek?" Stiles asked after a few minutes. "I think I'm, um…"
Derek looked further down Stiles's body. He was half hard again, his skin still damp. Derek's mouth watered. The night was still young.
Derek woke up the next morning, feeling warm and horny and ready for round four. His hands tightened around Stiles's waist and he brushed his lips across the moles on Stiles's shoulders. Stiles's bed was ridiculously comfortable, well worth the effort it'd taken to sneak them both in around 5:00 that morning. Derek was just pressing his lips to one of his masterful hickeys when someone, not him or Stiles, cleared his throat.
Derek's nostrils flared, finally catching the other scent. He was dead. He turned his head slowly, still holding onto Stiles like a child clutched a security blanket.
"Jeremiah," he croaked.
"When you're naked in my son's bed, it's 'Sheriff' to you," Jeremiah said in an even voice.
"Birthday brunch downstairs in ten minutes. Don't be late."
"And Derek? Make sure Stiles wears a turtleneck."
Derek closed his eyes. "Yes, sir."
"Happy birthday, Stiles."
Jeremiah left, shutting the door behind him.
"Best birthday gift ever," Stiles mumbled into his pillow.