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Summertime

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Day 1

 

**

Stiles wakes up to the funky beat of Summertime by DJ Jazzy and the Fresh Prince blasting from his iPhone, and grins, because nice choice for the last week of school, random alarm clock app. He tumbles out of bed, catches himself before he faceplants onto the floor, and staggers down the hallway to the bathroom. The hot water in the shower more or less wakes him up, and then he staggers back down the hallway with a towel tucked around his hips. Then he digs through the hamper in his bedroom for some clothes to wear to school today, because instead of doing his laundry last night he got sucked down a black hole on Tumblr where time ceased to exist as he knows it and suddenly it was five hours later. It happens. It happens a lot, actually.

He finds jeans and a graphic t-shirt that pass the smell test—his smell test, at least. Scott, with his damned heightened werewolf senses will give him the side eye all day, probably—and a red flannel shirt with only a small hole in it. He dresses quickly, scrubs his towel one last time over the droplets still clinging to his buzzcut, and then heads downstairs.

His dad is cooking pancakes. “Morning.”

“Morning,” Stiles squints at him, and gestures at his neck. “You missed a spot.”

“Aw, hell.” His dad wipes at the patch of shaving cream with a dish towel. “How many pancakes do you want?”

Stiles shake his head. “I’m already running late.”

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”

“Firstly, that’s not actually based in any scientific fact,” Stiles tells him. “It’s marketing propaganda by cereal companies. Secondly, I can’t be late because I’ve got a chemistry exam first up.”

“Even more reason to have a decent breakfast,” his dad tells him sternly. He clicks his fingers and points at something on the counter.

What? Is Stiles a dog now?

“Tin foil,” his dad grumbles at him.

Stiles passes him the box.

“If you don’t have time for breakfast in the morning, you need to set your alarm earlier,” his dad says, slapping a blueberry pancake onto a square of tinfoil and rolling it up like a burrito. “Have a good day, kid.”

“Thanks, Dad. You too!” Stiles clutches his pancake burrito and heads toward the front door.

***

“Stilinski! Stiles!”

Stiles pivots and squints, and why the hell is Greenberg rushing through the parking lot toward him?

Stiles stares at him blankly as he approaches.

“It’s me! Greenberg! We’re in Econ together? And also on the lacrosse team?”

“Dude.” Stiles can’t even. “I know who you are, Greenberg! We’ve gone to school together since first grade!”

“Bing!” Greenberg says, his face lighting up “Okay, so guess what?”

Stiles hitches his backpack up and curls his fingers around the straps. “What?”

“I’m selling candy for the team,” Greenberg says. “How many boxes can I put you down for?”

“No,” Stiles says, shouldering past him. “I’m not buying candy, or selling candy or doing anything with candy!”

“But, Stiles—”

Whatever Greenberg is going to say is lost when Stiles steps into a pothole and ends up with muddy water up to his calf. Greenberg grabs him by the shoulder to stop him from stumbling over and probably breaking his ankle.

“Fuck,” Stiles mutters under his breath. “Fuck, fuck fuck!” He grips his backpack more tightly and heads for the front of the school.

“Watch out for that first step!” Greenberg yells after him. “It’s a doozey!”

That’s—

That’s not even funny.

Stiles ignores him and joins the stream of kids heading inside.

***

Stiles’s wet shoe squeaks and squelches as he enters chemistry, and Harris glares at him like he’s doing it on purpose. What an asshole. Not like Stiles needs any reminding of that. Who else would schedule a test for the day of the Formal? Stiles probably won’t be able to go now. It’ll be just his luck to get gangrene of the foot by tonight.

“Mr. Stilinski, how nice of you to grace us with your presence,” Harris sneers.  

Stiles slumps down in his seat.

“What happened to you?” Scott asks in a whisper.

“No talking!” Harris says.

“Stepped in a hole,” Stiles whispers back.

Stiles doesn’t even realize Harris is right there until he slams a ruler down on Stiles’s desk, narrowly missing his fingers.

“Stilinski, I’ve got one nerve left and you’re getting on it.”

Stiles pulls his hands back. Seriously, Harris is such a creeper. It’s like most the stuff he says would be funny, except he’s never joking. He’s a total sociopath, with the cold, dead eyes of a shark. If Stiles has to pick one person in his life he can actually imagine stringing victims up in his basement and torturing them slowly, it’s Harris. And Stiles knows Peter Hale.

Harris leans down, glasses glinting. “Don’t test me, Stilinski. I won’t hesitate to ruin your pitiful social life and give you detention every day for the rest of your high school career.”

Stiles clamps his mouth shut and tries not to smell Harris’ breath.

Because ew.

Harris glares at him for a moment longer, and then straightens up and returns to his desk. He picks up the stack of test papers, and flashes his sadistic smile at the class.

“Now then, let’s see who’s going to summer school.”  

***

At lunch Stiles sits in the cafeteria, wiggling his toes in his still-damp shoe, and staring longingly at Lydia Martin. She’s sitting at a table with Jackson and Danny and a bunch of other kids who’ve somehow cracked the high school code of popularity. Stiles thinks it has something to do with money and looks. Or at least great hair.

“If this was a romcom, I’d go over there right now, with a flash mob backing me, and ask her to dump Jackson and come to the Formal with me tonight,” he says.

Scott nods sympathetically. He’s been perfecting his sympathetic nod since third grade, when Stiles first fell madly in love with Lydia. They both know Stiles is all talk, no action. Mostly because Jackson would kick his ass if he actually tried anything. Which wouldn’t be half as painful as getting shot down publicly by Lydia, actually.

Allison looks worried, like she thinks Stiles might actually have a flash mob primed and ready to go. “I don’t think that’s a good idea, Stiles.”

Stiles waves his fork in the air vaguely. “No, I know that. But I’ve got a plan.”

“A ten year plan,” Scott agrees.

“It’s actually morphed into more like a fifteen year plan,” Stiles tells him. Allison looks at him like he’s just a little bit crazy, and a lot more pathetic, so Stiles decides it’s time for a subject change. “So, what’d you guys get for question twelve on the test?”

“Twelve?” Scott gapes. “Weren’t there only ten questions?”

Allison turns her pitying look on Scott instead.

“Twenty,” Stiles says with a sigh. “There were ten questions on each side.”

“Oh, shit,” Scott groans, and drops his head into his hands. “Really?”

Stiles reaches out and claps him on the shoulder. “Sorry, buddy.”

At least he’s not the only one having a shit day, right? He wishes there was some way he could take some consolation in that.

***

“Bilinski!”

Stiles pants up at the sky, trying desperately to suck some air into his lungs. He’s lying on his back on the grass, and he has no idea how he got here. Not until Jackson looms over him and, for good measure, jabs the end of his crosse into Stiles’s ribs.

Stiles wheezes and chokes.

“Stay away from Lydia,” Jackson sneers, and jogs away.

Asshole.

“Bilinski!” Coach Finstock yells again, and blasts his whistle. “Get back up and get in there!”

Stiles groans and hauls himself to his feet.

Why isn’t this day over with yet?

***

Stiles’s damp shoe is still squishing when he treads up the stairs to Derek Hale’s loft for what he’s sure will be a self-moderated conflict management session about how Scott and Derek need to work together. Scott will be all bluster and bravado, and Derek will be all glowery eyebrows. It’s getting kind of old, actually.

Except, when he rolls the door open at the loft Scott isn’t even here yet, and Derek’s doing push-ups, which, okay, is kind of distracting. He’s not wearing a shirt, and his skin and muscles are unnecessarily shiny.

Stiles’s brain shorts out for reasons he’s not going to think about, actually.

“What do you want, Stiles?” Derek growls, getting to his feet and pulling on a shirt. A tight shirt.

Stiles opens and closes his mouth a few times before his brain engages. “I was supposed to meet Scott here?”

Derek gives his most impressive bitch face. “Scott canceled.”

“Seriously? I just saw him at practice!” Stiles huffs out a breath. “Fine. Right. Whatever. I have to go and get ready for the Formal anyway.”

An expression Stiles can’t read crosses over Derek’s face.

“Are you…” Are you okay? It’s a dumb question, and Stiles can’t finish it. “I’ll see you around, I guess.”

Derek nods sharply, and Stiles closes the door and squishes his way back downstairs.

***

**

Lydia looks like a queen. No, that’s selling her short. She looks like a goddess . Stiles’s breath actually catches in his throat when he sees her. She’s the most incredibly beautiful and perfect thing he’s ever seen in his life.

And then Jackson sees him staring, and “accidentally” tips his punch down Stiles’s cheap rented tux.

Everyone laughs.

Stiles doesn’t know why he thought things would be any different. He cleans up as best he can in the bathroom, then spends another half hour smiling stupidly and pretending he’s enjoying himself standing on the sidelines without anyone to dance with, and finally gives up and goes home.

***

“You’re early,” his dad says when Stiles walks into the kitchen to grab a soda. “Did you have a good time?”

“Yeah,” Stiles says, avoiding meeting his dad’s gaze.

“Stiles?”

Stiles pops his soda open, and forces a smile. “It was fun. Goodnight, Dad.”

“Goodnight, kiddo.”

Stiles brushes past his dad and heads for the stairs.

In his bedroom, he sets his soda on his desk. Then he kicks off his shoes, strips out of his suit, and faceplants on the bed.

Ugh.

Thank fuck today is over, right?

***

Day 2

“Summer, summer, summertime! Time to sit back and unwind!”

Stiles jolts awake and reaches out to grab his phone. He presses his thumb against the button to stop the song, and squints at the screen. So much for his random song alarm app. Stiles has hundreds of songs on his phone, and it goes for that one twice? That’s bullshit. If that app hadn’t been free, Stiles would demand a refund.

Stiles hauls himself out of bed, and staggers to the bathroom. After he showers, he digs some clothes out of the hamper in his room that he’s pretty sure are the same ones he wore yesterday, but they pass the sniff test and they don’t have any obvious stains, so he decides they’ll do.

When Stiles gets downstairs, his dad is making pancakes.

“Morning,” his dad says.

“Morning,” Stiles replied around a yawn, and then squints at him. “You missed a spot.”

“Aw, hell.” His dad grabs the dish towel and wipes the spot of shaving cream away. “How many pancakes do you want?”

Stiles’s tired brain takes a moment, because didn’t they already do this? Like yesterday? Déjà vu is weird, but he’s too sleepy to care. “Seriously, are we having pancakes again?”

His dad shrugs. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”

“That’s not actually true,” Stiles tells him, then groans and rubs his face with his hands. “Just… I’m running late again. Can you burrito one up for me?”

His dad grabs the tin foil. “If you don’t have time for breakfast in the morning, you need to set your alarm earlier.”

“Don’t even get me started on this stupid alarm app!”

“Have a good day, kid.”

“Thanks, Dad.” Stiles grabs his burrito pancake. “You too!”

***

The weird creeping feeling of déjà vu wears off in the Jeep. It’s not déjà vu after all. It’s routine. He and his dad have a routine, that’s all. Stiles pulls into the school parking lot, and snags the same park he did yesterday. He gets out of the Jeep and slams the door twice before it catches.

“Stilinski! Stiles!”

Stiles turns at the sound of his name, and discovers that Greenberg is rushing toward him. And just like that his déjà vu is back, and this time it’s brought it’s scary friend paranoia.

“It’s me! Greenberg! We’re in Econ together? And—”

Stiles barely resists the urge to punch him. He’s being punked, clearly. Or he’s having a brain aneurysm. That’s all. Nothing to worry about. “What the fuck ? I know who you are , Greenberg!”

“Bing!” Greenberg beams at him. “Okay, so guess what?”

“You want me to buy candy,” Stiles says woodenly.

“Bing!” Greenberg says again.

Stiles pushes away from him—and steps straight into the water-filled pothole. He shakes off Greenberg, and heads toward the school entrance, his heart thumping out of his chest.

“Watch out for that first step!” Greenberg yells after him, laughing. “It’s a doozey!”

***

“What happened to you?” Scott asks in a whisper in chemistry.

“Dude,” Stiles whispers back. “There is something really weird going on here! Like weirder than usual!”

“No talking,” Harris snaps.

“I woke up, and I’m having the exact same day as yesterday!” Stiles hisses at Scott.

Harris slams a ruler down on Stiles’s desk, and Stiles flinches. “Stilinski, I’ve got one nerve left and you’re getting on it.”

Stiles waits until Harris turns around again, and then leans over toward Scott. “I think I’m going crazy!”

This time Harris slams the ruler down so hard it cracks. “Don’t test me, Stilinski. I won’t hesitate to ruin your pitiful social life and give you detention every day for the rest of your high school career.”

Stiles does the hardest thing he’s ever had to do in his life, and keeps his mouth shut while Harris hands out the test papers.

“Now then, let’s see who’s going to summer school.”

***

**

At lunch, Stiles tries to ignore his damp shoe.

“Okay,” he says to Scott. “I am having the exact same day as yesterday! Like the exact !”

And maybe Stiles has a problem with hyperbole, because neither Scott nor Allison look particularly worried. And then Stiles remembers telling them last month that his life was legit ruined because of what Marvel did with Captain America and Hydra. Those fucking assholes.

“The exact ,” he repeats. “The same breakfast, the same conversation with my dad. The same annoying Greenberg, and the same stepping into the same fucking hole! The same twenty stupid questions on the same chemistry test!”

“Twenty?” All the blood rushes from Scott’s face. “Weren’t there only ten?”

“Twenty,” Stiles confirms with a sigh. “There were ten questions on each side.”

“Oh, shit,” Scott groans, and drops his head into his hands.

That looks kind of comforting.

Stiles tries it too.

***

Okay.

Okay, so how, even with the benefit of Stiles’s foreknowledge, does Jackson still manage to knock him down in practice and jab him in the ribs with his crosse?

Stiles lies on the grass and heaves.

Oh. Probably because Jackson has managed to be a total fucking douchebag to Stiles for literally years , and just because Stiles knows it’s coming doesn’t mean he’s quick enough to get out of the way.

“Stay away from Lydia!”

Fuck his life.

***

“Scott cancelled,” Derek tells Stiles when he turns up, shoe squishing, for the pack meeting.

“I know,” Stiles says. “But listen, there’s something really weird going on, and I really need you to listen to me and not immediately assume I’m crazy, okay?”

Derek’s brows tug together in a way that does not bode well for his outlook on Stiles’s mental health.

“I’m living the same day again,” Stiles tells him. “Like, down to all the details. Well, most the details? It’s kind of confusing. But it’s Friday right? Except I did Friday yesterday , Derek! I stood in the same hole, I did the same chemistry test, I got the same injuries at practice, and tonight I’m going to go to the same Formal and get ignored by the same people!”

Derek isn’t exactly a talkative kind of guy, but Stiles thinks that this time he’s actually even a little speechless. There’s an actual difference, even if the results are the same.

“You’re reliving the same day twice?” he asks at last.

“Yes!” Stiles exclaims. “Is this some kind of magic thing? Have you heard of something like this before?”

“I’ve never heard of anything like this before,” Derek says. “I’ll look into it.”

For the first time since the morning, Stiles feels a little bit better. Because Derek believes him.

“Okay,” he says, and gestures helplessly. “I guess I’ll just go about my business the same as yesterday, right?”

“I guess,” Derek says, still eyeing him warily.

“Okay,” Stiles says again, and squelches back down the stairs.

***

The Formal sucks. It sucked the first time, and it sucks this time too.

“You’re early,” his dad says when Stiles gets home. “Did you have a good time?”

“Yeah,” Stiles says, hiding his face in the fridge while he grabs his soda.

“Stiles?”

“It was fun.” He forces a smile that hopefully doesn’t look too much like rictus. “Goodnight, Dad.”

“Goodnight, kiddo.”

Stiles is really ready for this day to be over.

Again.

***

Day 3

“Summer, summer, summertime!”

Stiles groans, and grabs his phone to turn the song off. He texts Derek: Anything?

It’s a few minutes before he gets a reply: What are you talking about?

Fuck fuck fuck.

Because of course.

Fuck Stiles’s life, and fuck the great big cosmic reset button, and fuck today especially.

Stiles blinks at the ceiling for a moment.

The day is only seconds old and Stiles already hates it.

***

Day 5

Staying up all night doesn’t solve the problem, because Stiles can’t stay up all night. As soon as the clock hits midnight, it’s lights out for Stiles, right up until he’s dragged into consciousness by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince and the whole hideous day starts all over again.

***

**

Day 12

Stiles has got this day down to a fine fucking art. He’s almost certifiably insane right now, but this day? This never-ending fucking day? Stiles has made it his bitch.

“Stilinski! Stiles!”

Stiles plasters on his most infectious smile. “Greenberg!”

Greenberg looks a little worried when Stiles hugs him tightly, and takes the opportunity to rub his cheek against his.

“Greenberg,” he sighs. “What do you say we cut school together? We could go back to my place, hang out, see what happens?”

“Um…” Greenberg extricates himself carefully from the hug, and backs away.

Stiles steps back—straight into that fucking pothole, because some things never change.

“Watch out for that first step,” Greenberg says haltingly, his smile awkward.

“It’s a doozey!” Stiles finishes for him, and heads for school.

***

Stiles is late for chemistry because he stops to change into his spare shoes and socks. If the past eleven days have taught him anything, it’s that the stupid pothole gets him every time. If Stiles can’t avoid it, he can at least plan for it.

“Mr. Stilinski, how nice of you to grace us with your presence,” Harris sneers.

Stiles bares his teeth in the approximation of a smile and slumps down in his seat.

“What happened to you?” Scott asks in a whisper.

“No talking!” Harris says.

“Don’t forget to check both sides of the paper,” Stiles whispers back, pulling his hands away before Harris slams the ruler on the desk.

“Stilinski, I’ve got one nerve left and you’re getting on it.”

“Yes, sir,” Stiles says, while Scott shoots him a grateful look. “Sorry, sir.”

Harris leans down, glasses glinting. “Don’t test me, Stilinski. I won’t hesitate to ruin your pitiful social life and give you detention every day for the rest of your high school career.”

Stiles tries not to choke on a laugh.  

Harris seriously thinks he can fuck Stiles over? He has to wait in line, behind the entire goddamn universe .

Harris gives him a narrow look as he starts to hand out the papers, and Stiles smiles back at him, because sadly? The chemistry test is actually the high point of his day. He’s going to ace it, just like the last eleven times.

***

At lunch Stiles eats his fries with one hand, and turns the pages of the book with the other. That’s one thing in favour of a day that never ends. Stiles is really catching up on his reading. If this is all a crazy hallucination, it’s incredibly vivid. He’s three quarters of the way through Les Miserables , and he’s pretty sure his own brain couldn’t come up with something this intricate. Plots within plots within plots. No. However crazy all this is, it’s also very real .

He glances across the cafeteria at Lydia Martin.

Jackson glares back at him.

Stiles closes his book, pushes his chair back and—with Scott gaping at him—crosses the cafeteria floor to where Lydia and Jackson are holding court with the popular kids.

“Hi, Lydia,” Stiles says. Because in every fable Stiles has read, the hero has to learn a lesson, right? Has to right a wrong or overcome an obstacle, or something . Stiles thinks that Lydia might be his something. He’s attempted to approach her a few times already, and the results varied between awkward and abjectly humiliating, but he thinks he’s got it figured out now.

Lydia looks at him as though she’s never seen him before.

Jackson looks at him like he’s trying to figure out where to bury his body.

“I was wondering if you’d dance with me at the Formal tonight?” Stiles asks. “I’m not asking to be a jerk, because I know you and Jackson are dating, but I would really like to dance with you as a friend.”

Lydia narrows her eyes thoughtfully.

“I also know that I’ve probably made you uncomfortable in the past, and I’m sorry for that, because obviously you don’t owe me anything at all, and if you do want to dance that would be great. But if you don’t, that’s totally okay as well.”

Lydia purses her lips for a moment, and then stirs her straw in her drink. “I’ll think about it.”

Jackson looks stunned.

So does everyone else at the table.

“Okay,” Stiles says. “Thanks.”

He heads back to his table, wearing a triumphant grin.

***

Stiles sidesteps Jackson’s crosse, and jogs backward to get some distance between them.

Jackson looks pissed. “Stay away from Lydia!”

Finishing lacrosse practice with no extra bruises?

Yeah, Stiles is finally getting a handle on this day.

***

Stiles rolls the door open at the loft, and gazes at Derek’s ridiculous biceps and abs and all his other unnecessary muscles.

“Scott canceled,” Derek says, tugging a shirt on.

“Figures,” Stiles says. “Hey, can I borrow your cologne?”

Derek’s eyebrows tussle. “What?”

“Your cologne,” Stiles says. “You always smell like really nice, and tonight at the Formal I’m maybe going to dance with Lydia, and I don’t really want to smell like my dad’s Old Spice.”

“You think I smell nice?” Derek stares at him blankly.

Stiles waves his hand at him, ignoring the sudden rush of warmth spreading throughout him. “Um, yeah? Like, I don’t mean that in a weird way or anything. Just…” And then he stops talking, because he really has nowhere to go with that.

What? Derek does smell nice. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s super attractive. Stiles has eyes.

“I’ll get it,” Derek says.

Stiles pokes around in the kitchen, turning around again when Derek reappears with his cologne. It’s a brand Stiles hasn’t heard of before. It’s impossible to tell whether Derek orders it specially from a boutique store in Paris, or if he found it in the bargain bin at the dollar store. Stiles isn’t really up on cologne.

“Thanks,” Stiles says. “Just trying to get the whole high school experience, you know? Dancing with a beautiful girl.”

An expression Stiles can’t read crosses over Derek’s face.

“See you tomorrow then,” Stiles says, and heads for the door.

***

**

“You know I’m only doing this to annoy Jackson, right?” Lydia asks.

Stiles tries not to step on her toes. She’s beautiful. “Yeah, I figured that. But it’s a win/win situation. I get to dance with you, and you get to school Jackson on autonomy, so yay for us.”

Lydia actually laughs. Stiles doesn’t think he’s ever heard Lydia laugh before. He likes the sound of it. It’s bright and unexpected, and Stiles wonders what Derek would sound like if—

No. What?

The only reason he’s thinking of Derek is because he smells of his cologne, right?

Yeah.

That must be it.

Stiles dances with Lydia, and it’s fun, and she’s beautiful, and most incredibly of all she doesn’t actually seem to hate him. It’s so good that even when Jackson “accidentally” tips his punch down Stiles’s tux, he doesn’t even care.

***

“You’re early,” his dad says. “Did you have a good time?”

“I did, actually,” Stiles grins. “And when the night’s already been perfect, why drag it out any further?”

“Perfect, huh?”

Stiles’s grin grows. “Yeah, pretty damn perfect.”

His dad smiles at that. “Goodnight, kiddo.”

“Night!” Stiles heads upstairs.

This is it, right?

This is the moment. The lesson. The thing the universe wants him to get. His one perfect thing. He danced with Lydia, and if that’s not universe-altering—universe- shattering , actually—Stiles doesn’t know what is.

He climbs into bed still wearing his grin, absolutely certain that tomorrow will be, at last, a new day.

***

Day 13

“Summer, summer, summertime!”

Fuck.

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

***

**

Day 96

Okay, so Stiles isn’t exactly sure how he’s done it, but he’s done it.

Okay, no he is sure. He followed an extremely detailed and well thought-out plan to get to this point. He just wasn’t certain it would work.

First, he learned Latin. Just to be able to drop a few phrases in Lydia’s hearing in chemistry.

Then he impressed her at lunch by apologizing for his previous stalkerish tendencies and asking if she’d dance with him.

And he’s all over the dancing thing by now. He makes—well, if Stiles knew any famous ballroom dancers he’d drop a name right here, along with the fact that he makes them look like shit. Point is, Stiles dances like a fucking god now, okay? And even though there’s not a lot of room to showcase that at the high school gym without looking like a total douchenozzle, he knows that he impressed Lydia.

He knows it, because here they are in her bedroom, and they’re going to do it.

It.

This is the moment Stiles has been waiting for, ever since he first got tingly feelings, right?

So why does he feel like a disgusting excuse for a human being?

Oh right.

It’s because Lydia’s not some prize to be won. She’s not something to be ticked off a checklist. She’s not a level up in some game he’s playing.

Lydia’s a person, and Stiles… Stiles isn’t. At the moment he’s just the projection of someone he thinks she’ll want. He’s lying to both of them.

“I’m sorry,” he says at last, his voice cracking. “I really do like you, Lydia, but I’m not ready for this.”

She regards him curiously for a moment. “Oh.”

“I mean, you’re literally perfect,” Stiles tells her. “But I think maybe we should get to know one another a bit better first?”

Lydia’s expression softens. “Sure. You can meet me for lunch tomorrow.”

Stiles fights the urge to laugh. “Okay. Tomorrow.”

Tomorrow, of course, never happens.

***

**

Day 104

“Jesus Christ,” his dad says when he arrives at the school after the principal calls him. “Are you drunk ?”

“No,” Stiles lies, and then falls out of his chair and can’t stop laughing.

***

Day 112

The first time Stiles dies, it’s an accident. He’s literally running to avoid Greenberg, and runs right out in front of Jackson’s silver Porsche. The look of horror on Jackson’s face haunts Stiles for approximately 0.3 seconds, and he feels a burst of bone-chilling terror that this is it , and then it’s lights out.

And then it’s lights on again.

And it’s summer, summer, summertime. Time to sit back and unwind.

***

 

Day 122

 

“Mr. Stilinski, how nice of you to grace us with your presence,” Harris sneers.

Stiles rolls his eyes and slumps in his seat.

“What happened to you?” Scott asks in a whisper.

“No talking!” Harris says.

“Don’t forget to check both sides of the paper,” Stiles tells Scott, not even bothering to lower his voice.

“Stilinski,” Harris snaps. “I’ve got one nerve left and you’re getting on it.”

“Really?” Stiles asks. “I’m getting on your last nerve? Firstly, I know you think you’re the god of sarcasm or whatever, but, dude, this is the total definition of punching down.”

Harris’s face turns red.

“See?” Stiles asks. “It’s not so much fun when one of us gives it back, is it? You’re just a bully. Just a tiny man on a big power trip, but here’s the real kicker. You have to pick on teenagers, because out there? Out there in the real world? You’re just a sad little man with a sad little life.”

Stiles finally understands what people mean when they say you could hear a pin drop.

And then Harris goes ballistic .

Really, Stiles thinks as he gathers up his books and heads for the principal’s office to collect his inevitable suspension paperwork, it’s a shame nobody will remember this tomorrow. Because right now? Stiles is a high school legend.

 

***

**

Day 156

“Yippee ki-yay, motherfuckers,” Stiles says, because he is not above appropriating an awesome catchphrase like that. “This is a stick up.”

He points his dad’s old army piece at the ceiling, and fires a shot. Plaster rains down, and it’s kind of fun. Okay, so he’s not exactly feeling good about the screams of terror from the tellers and the bank customers, but this isn’t real . They’re going to wake up tomorrow and none of this will have happened. Stiles is the only one who will remember, and he knows that because he’s already robbed the bank twice now.

Because going to school got old really fast. Nothing he does—helping Scott not fail chemistry, getting Lydia to notice him, avoiding Jackson’s hit at practice— nothing changes. It’s end result Summertime every fucking time.

Stiles has probably legitimately gone insane, because bank robbery? Why the fuck not?

He doesn’t even care now if this is what finally trips him out of the loop—it won’t be, because he’s already done this—because yes, he’d rather sit in prison for the next twenty years to life than live this day again and again and again.

He takes the bag of money, and dashes outside to the Jeep. His Jeep is the worst getaway vehicle in the entire universe. He learned that the first two times. But hey, it’s his baby. He tears off down Main Street just as the first of the police cruisers pull in behind him, lights flashing and sirens wailing. Nothing like a police chase to start the day off with a bang.

Stiles fiddles with the radio, hoping to find the perfect accompanying soundtrack. He finds Lemonade. Close enough.

He swings a wild right onto Maple Street, and almost takes out a passing car when he reaches over onto the passenger seat to grab his ringing phone.

“Hey, Dad.”

“Stiles. What the hell are you doing?”

God, he hates that tone in his dad’s voice. Hates the way he sounds so broken. It’s why, the first time he did this, he pulled over and waited to be arrested. Which led to spending the entire day in a cell at the station listening to his dad pretty much have a breakdown whenever he tried to talk to him, and waking up again in his own bed to start the day all over again. And he’d crept downstairs feeling sick and guilty, but his dad didn’t remember a thing. Just wrapped him up a blueberry pancake and sent him on his way.

“Robbing a bank,” Stiles tells him now. “Well, okay, I just did that. I guess now I’m trying to get away?”

The second time he did this, Stiles made it as far as the highway before he crashed into a tree trying to avoid a roadblock, and killed himself.

Today? He’s got no idea how it’s going to end.

“Kid.” His dad’s voice is strained. “Pull over. Pull over, and we can work this out.”

Yeah no.

Stiles eases off on the gas, and pulls the Jeep over to the side of the street.

“Is that you behind me, Dad?”

“Yeah, kid.”

“Okay,” Stiles says, tapping his jaw with the muzzle of the gun. “Just wait there a second, alright?”

“Stiles, what—”

It’s not a trigger, it’s a reset button. Stiles grins and pulls it.

***

**

Day 181

Stiles would call it a downward spiral, but it’s not a spiral, is it? It’s a fucking circle. At least spirals end somewhere, even if it is dead in a ditch. Which, at this point, Stiles would take.

“You look like hell,” Derek says when Stiles trudges into the loft. “Scott canceled.”

“I know,” Stiles says. “On both counts.”

Derek pulls on a shirt.

Stiles flops down onto his couch. “I think I’m going crazy. Scratch that. I think I’m already crazy.” He rubs a hand over his aching eyes. “It’s not get the girl, it’s not get the money, it’s not get killed, what is it?”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Derek asks.

Stiles opens his eyes again. “So, okay, say you got to relive the same day over and over again. What would be the point of that?”

Derek shrugs. “Do I get to pick the day?”

“No,” Stiles says. “It’s just a random day with nothing special about it. Like, it could be today.”

“I wouldn’t pick today.”

“You don’t get to pick, that’s the point!” Stiles groans loudly, and then frowns. “Why wouldn’t you pick today though?”

Derek’s expression shutters, and he turns away and shrugs again.

“Just… that would be pretty fucked up, right? Living the same day over and over?”

“Shouldn’t you be getting ready for the Formal?” Derek asks him.

Stiles thinks about that for a moment, then hauls himself to his feet. “Yeah. Can I borrow your cologne?”

***

Earlier in this whole disaster, before Stiles went totally insane, he took all those dance lessons, just so he could learn how to move without stepping on Lydia’s toes. Lydia’s not even that impressed though. It’s like she doesn’t even know that was a legitimate risk.

“You smell nice,” she says when their dance ends.

“I know,” Stiles tells her, and then ruins what could be an almost nice moment by pulling the collar of his shirt up to sniff it. “I smell like Derek.”

Lydia gives him a strange look and then turns on her heel to go and find Jackson.

***

“You’re early,” his dad says when Stiles walks into the kitchen to grab a soda. “Did you have a good time?”

Stiles pops his soda open, and sighs. “You know, I really don’t think I can tell anymore.”

His dad’s forehead creases in a frown. “Stiles?”

Jesus. The things Stiles has done to his dad. The bank robberies. The getting drunk. The getting expelled. The setting off fireworks from the clock tower at the Town Hall. And his dad can’t remember any of that, but Stiles can. And it makes him feel like shit. This self-destructive behaviour, just because he’s bursting to feel something, something new . Just because he’s bursting to change the outcome, just for once. And he knows how dumb that sounds, but living this day over and over again? He’s stir crazy. He’s desperate. He’s a three year old kid in the candy aisle, kicking and screaming because he’s not allowed to get what he wants.

Stiles forces a smile. “It was fun. Goodnight, Dad.”

“Goodnight, kiddo.”

He cries himself to sleep that night, because he’s tired, he’s so fucking done , and he knows it doesn’t make a lick of difference.

***

**

Day 256

Stiles isn’t sure why it took him so long to realize that he’s not supposed to be a supervillain after all. He’s supposed to be a superhero . And even in a small town like Beacon Hills there are plenty of people who can use his help. He starts off small.

“Stilinski! Stiles!”

Stiles pivots. “Hey, Greenberg. You are looking sharp today!”

“Bing!” Greenberg says, his face lighting up “Okay, so guess what?”

Stiles hitches his backpack up and curls his fingers around the straps. “What?”

“I’m selling candy for the team,” Greenberg begins.

“I love candy!” Stiles exclaims, before he can do the entire sales pitch. “Put me down for fifty boxes! Now, wait, a hundred boxes!”

“They’re like ten dollars a box, Stiles,” Greenberg says warily.

“College fund or candy fund?” Stiles grins. “Po-tay-to po-tah-to, am I right?”

“Wow,” Greenberg says, blinking. “Wow!”

“Have a great day!” Stiles tells him with a wave, and heads off to prevent Scott from failing chemistry.

***

At 11.24 a.m. Mrs. Handley chokes on a coconut macaroon on the street right outside the Beacon Hills library, and nobody knows what to do. Except Stiles, who swoops in, administers the Heimlich, and then dashes away before the paramedics arrive in order to make it to Oak Street in time to stop four-year-old Jessica Whitehouse from falling out of a tree. Or, since he can’t stop her from falling, he can at least stop her from hitting the ground. Which he does, much to her mother’s shock and relief.

Then it’s off to the old people’s home because the guy who was supposed to show up canceled, and Stiles has gotten very good at calling bingo.

Then he drops his dad’s lunch off at the station, promising him he’s got a free period and isn’t at all cutting school, and it’s down to the Laundromat to change a tire. Then it’s off to the confectionary aisle in Walmart, where he steps in and helps deliver a baby—and there was a hell of a lot of panicked screaming the first time that happened. And not from the mother. But Stiles is much better at it now.

By the afternoon Stiles is exhausted when he climbs the stairs to Derek’s loft.

“Hey,” he says, and waves his hand at Derek. “I know, I know. Scott canceled. I’m here to borrow your cologne.”

Derek pulls on a shirt, and frowns. “You look like shit.”

“Right?” Stiles flops down on Derek’s couch. “The day I have had! It’s been crazy!” But he’s grinning when he says it.

Derek’s glare loses some of its intensity. “What do you want, Stiles?”

That’s a damn good question.

“Your cologne, for one,” Stiles tells him. “It’s the Formal tonight, and I have to impress Lydia with both my scent, and my ability not to cripple her by stomping on her toes.” He twists his head to look at Derek. “Are you okay, sourwolf?”

“What.”

“Just…” Stiles shrugs. “You don’t look okay. Bad day?”

Derek glares again. “Not especially.”

Okay.

Except, no, not okay. Because Derek seems like the sort of guy who could literally get dragged through hell, flayed alive, electrocuted, have every bone in his body broken and, when asked it if he’d had a nightmarish time would answer: Not especially. Derek is kind of the king of all pessimists.

And for very good reason, actually.

Stiles struggles to sit up. “I think I would be a terrible superhero.”

Derek’s eyebrows judge him.

“Hear me out,” Stiles says, tapping his fingers on his knee. “I mean, just imagine what sort of guy I’d be if I ran around all over the place saving strangers, but I never noticed that the people closest to me needed help?”

Derek ignores the question.

“Why today?” Stiles asks. “This whole time I’ve been wondering, why today?”

He doesn’t miss Derek’s flinch. “What the hell are you talking about?”

“Nothing,” Stiles says, his heart thumping. “Hey, can I borrow that cologne now?”

***

 

“You smell nice,” Lydia says when their dance ends, and tilts her head like she’s thinking.

“I smell like Derek,” Stiles tells her, and takes a sniff of his shirt collar. “It’s kind of...”

“Kind of woody,” Lydia says. “Summery. A little citrusy, with a hint of vetiver.”

Of course Lydia would know all the right words to describe cologne.

“It makes me think of the Preserve, actually,” Lydia tells him. “It suits you.”

“Um, thanks.”

“Thank you,” Lydia says. “For the dance, and for not laughing when I said woody .”

“Not gonna lie, it was a close call,” Stiles admits.

Lydia’s smile looks genuine as she turns on her heel and goes to find Jackson.

Stiles sniffs at his collar again, and thinks of the Preserve, and of summer, and of Derek. He wonders if that’s why Derek wears this cologne. He wonders if it was even a conscious choice—maybe Derek actually knows what vetiver is—or if Derek chose it by instinct.

He wonders if the memories the scent evokes in him are painful or comforting.

And suddenly it seems like the most shallow thing in the world to be wasting his time at a school dance, when he doesn’t know if Derek is okay.

Except that’s a lie, isn’t it?

Derek’s not okay, and Stiles has known it from the start.

 

***

 

“You’re home early,” his dad comments.

“Yeah. Got some stuff I needed to do.”

“Did you have a good time?”

“It was okay. Good night, Dad!”

“Goodnight, kid.”

Stiles heads upstairs and sits down at his laptop.

And there it is. Right on Google.

Today’s not just any day.

Today’s the anniversary of the Hale fire.

***

Day 257

 

“Summer, summer, summertime.”

Blueberry pancakes.

Greenberg.

Scott and chemistry.

Saving Mrs. Handley, and then Jessica Whitehouse. Calling bingo for the old folks, taking lunch to his dad, changing a tire at the Laundromat, then delivering the baby at Walmart. And yet again, while the mother is impressed with Stiles’s handling of the situation, she declines to name the baby after him. Well, Stiles will admit that Przemysław is a pretty stupid name, for a girl especially, but there was no need for security to escort him from the premises.

He’s dog-tired when he climbs the stairs to Derek’s loft and wrenches the door open.

“Hey, I brought pizza!”

Derek glares at him, and pulls his shirt on. “Scott canceled.”

“Figures,” Stiles says, and waltzes inside anyway. “You like meatlovers, right? I got extra pepperoni.”

Derek continues to glare at him, but eventually the smell of the pizza draws him closer. Of course it does. Pizza is magic.

“What do you want, Stiles?”

Stiles opens the box and holds it out toward him. “I want to share this delicious pizza with you.”

Derek narrows his eyes.

“Come on,” Stiles says. “I’ll find paper towels, and you find a DVD.”

Derek’s expression flickers, and for a second Stiles thinks he’s going to be thrown out on his ass, but then Derek just glares some more and mutters, and goes to pick through his scant DVD collection.

Stiles manfully resists the urge to do a victory punch in the air.

***

**

“I know why you’re here,” Derek says later, when the pizza is nothing more than a grease-stained box and the credits on the movie are scrolling.

Stiles shrugs.

“I don’t need your pity.”

Stiles widens his eyes. “Pity? Derek, this isn’t pity, okay? This is what friends do.”

Derek’s mouth presses into a thin line.

“It’s been nine years since my mom died,” Stiles says. “That’s more than half my life. But you know what? Sometimes it still feels like yesterday, like time stopped for part of me when she died. Like there’s always going to be this little kid inside me, screaming and crying because the world just ended.” He swallows, his throat suddenly sore. “I’m not here because I pity you, Derek. I’m here because I know how it feels.”

Derek doesn’t look at him.

“I’m here because I’m your friend, and because I feel like I’ve wasted so much time realizing that.”

So much time.

Derek snorts a little at that. “We’re friends ?”

Stiles risks a quick grin and elbows him. “Hell, yes. I paid for pizza, Derek. We’re practically brothers .”

Derek looks at him quickly and then looks away.

Stiles’s heart jackrabbits. “Unless, um…”

“Unless what?”

What the hell, right? Tomorrow is a do-over.

Stiles shifts suddenly, scrambling into Derek’s lap before Derek can shove him off. His knees sink into the couch on either side of Derek’s thighs. Derek looks wide-eyed, like he’s the terrified one here.

“Unless this ,” Stiles says. He holds his shaking hand under Derek’s jaw, and angles his face just right, and then they’re kissing. Just a soft press of their mouths, and the taste of pepperoni, and then Stiles’s lips are opening slightly and Derek’s tongue flickers against his briefly, hot and wet.

Stiles leans back, breathless. “Um,” he says.

And then Derek’s hand curls around the back of his neck and pulls him in for more.

***

They talk for hours curled up together on the couch, their conversations punctuated by long silences that somehow never feel uncomfortable.

“Laura tried to get me back,” Derek says, his eyes crinkling when he smiles. “The whole bucket full of water on top of the door trick. Except the water was full of green dye, because she really wanted to get me good. But it wasn’t me who opened the door. It was Mom. And she had to go and negotiate with another pack while she was still bright green.”

Stiles squawks with laughter. “Was your mom pissed?”

“We both got grounded,” Derek says.

“Unfair!” Stiles exclaims.

Derek’s smile grows. “That’s what I said.”

The silences mostly come when the bad memories come thick and fast on the heels of the good ones, but Stiles is there for that too. He knows that feeling. He fills in some of the silences with stories about his mom. Others, he lets drift by.

“Weren’t you supposed to be at the Formal tonight?” Derek asks much later.

Stiles curls his fingers through Derek’s and shrugs. “I’d rather be here.”

He knows Derek can hear his heartbeat.

He knows he can hear the truth.

“Thank you,” Derek says.

Stiles leans into his warmth.

***

“You’re early,” his dad says. “Did you have a good time?”

“It was really good,” Stiles says.

“Stiles…”

Oh, right. He’s still wearing his jeans and a flannel shirt over his graphic tee.

His dad leans in the kitchen doorway. “Did you even go to the Formal?”

“I kind of got distracted?” Stiles attempted.

His dad rolls his eyes. “Do I even want to know?”

“Probably not,” Stiles admits. “Goodnight, Dad!”

His dad’s sigh follows him up the stairs. “Goodnight.”

Stiles lays awake a long time, replaying all the hours he spent with Derek.

He wants…

He wants them not to feel cheap when he does this again tomorrow.

When he does this again forever.

He wants them to always feel real.

***

Day 258

“It’s summer, summer, summertime!”

Stiles tumbles out of bed, catches himself before he faceplants onto the floor, and staggers down the hallway to the bathroom. This part of the morning? He could literally do it in his sleep. He showers, then heads back to his room to dress.

In the kitchen, his dad is cooking pancakes. “Morning.”

“Morning,” Stiles squints at him, and gestures at his neck. “You missed a spot.”

“Aw, hell.” His dad wipes at the patch of shaving cream with a dish towel. “How many pancakes do you want?”

Stiles shakes his head. “I’m already running late.”

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”

“Firstly, that’s not actually based in any scientific fact,” Stiles tells him. “It’s marketing propaganda by cereal companies. Secondly, I can’t be late because I’ve got a chemistry exam first up.”

“It’s Saturday, son.”

Stiles freezes.

“Now, how many pancakes do you want?”

Saturday.

“Stiles?” his dad asks, brow creasing in concern. “You okay, kid?”

Stiles digs his phone out of his pocket and stares at the screen.

Christ on a bike. It’s Saturday. It’s tomorrow .

It’s… it’s tomorrow, and Stiles has a text message from Derek. His thumb shakes as he slides it across the screen.

Thanks for yesterday. I needed a friend. Can I see you today?

“Oh, shit,” Stiles says. “Omigod.”

“Stiles?” His dad sets the pan down and steps toward him. He grips him by the shoulders. “Are you okay, kid?”

“I kissed Derek Hale,” Stiles blurts out.

His dad’s eyebrows make a dash for his hairline. “You did what now? With who ?”

“Oh, wow,” Stiles says. “And now I think he wants to talk about it and stuff? Dad, do I have a boyfriend ?”

“Not until you’re eighteen, you don’t,” his dad growls.

Stiles gasps suddenly and almost drops his phone as the implications of yesterday— all the implications—hit him at once. “And that’s not even the craziest thing!”

“Stiles?”

“Holy fuck .” Stiles starts to laugh, and he doesn’t think he’ll be able to stop. It’s tomorrow. He’s made it. It’s tomorrow, and his whole future is this crazy, wonderful, unknowable thing. And he did good. Scott passed chemistry, and Mrs. Handley didn’t die, and there’s a brand new baby in the world, and Stiles maybe even has a boyfriend now, and... And Stiles can’t stop laughing. “Holy shit, Dad! I owe Greenberg a thousand dollars for candy!”

**