“Dude, it totally worked!” Stiles says, excitedly grabbing Derek’s shoulder as he slides into the seat next to him. “We’re on for tomorrow!”
Derek stares at him, eyes wide. “You actually got Lydia to say yes to a date with you?”
Stiles rolls his eyes, gently shakes Derek’s shoulder. “Dude, I’m totally looking out for you, too. It’s a double date, so you’ll be going with Erica.”
“Wow, I can’t believe they said yes,” Derek says, shyly ducking his head.
“Wait a minute,” Scott says then, looking up from his lunch. “You got a date with Lydia and Erica? Aren’t they—”
“Nope!” Stiles cuts in. “No negativity from you, Scotty. Let us savor this moment, okay?”
Scott shakes his head, but he goes back to eating his sandwich. “Whatever you say,” he grumbles.
Stiles figures he’s grumpy because Allison’s sick at home today. He shrugs it off, then turns back to Derek to make plans. He’s got an entire list of details to iron out.
Stiles starts to get a weird feeling, though, when they show up for the date.
Lydia and Erica are already there, and they’re sitting together on the same side of the booth. They’re leaning in and talking quietly to each other, Lydia’s hand gently resting on Erica’s arm.
They walk up to the table and Stiles hesitates, waiting to see if either of them want to move to the other side. But they don’t.
Lydia just gives him an odd look, then says, “You can sit down. We already ordered appetizers.”
“Oh, cool,” Stiles says, then slides into the booth, Derek following right after him.
“Did you get garlic bread?” Derek asks. He doesn’t look as confused as Stiles must, but he figures that’s because Derek is better at schooling his expressions.
“Of course!” Erica says, grinning, and Stiles smirks. Looks like everybody really does know about Derek’s love of garlic bread. It’s actually Stiles’ go-to bribe when Derek needs some convincing.
He gets a shock when he looks back across the table, though. Because Erica is leaning in, and she places a sweet, soft little kiss on Lydia’s neck. Lydia gives her a tiny, contented smile in return.
Stiles still processing when Lydia turns to him and says, “So when did you two get together?”
He sees Derek start to open his mouth, and he clamps his hand down hard on Derek’s thigh. “It’s a pretty new thing, actually,” he says quickly.
Lydia’s brow wrinkles. “Oh. I thought there’d been something between you two for a while,” she says.
Stiles almost says really? but he clenches his jaw around it before he can. “Well, it took me a while to work up the nerve to ask him out,” he says instead.
“You had to know he’d say yes,” Erica says. “Derek’s had a thing for you for ages,” she adds, and Stiles feels Derek stiffen next to him.
“Sorry, Derek,” Lydia says, pointedly swatting Erica’s shoulder.
“It’s okay,” he says awkwardly. “It’s just embarrassing.”
Stiles loosens his grip on Derek’s thigh, gives it a couple of light pats instead, because he’s actually playing along. Good. Maybe they can get through this, after all.
“Yeah, against his better judgement, he said yes,” Stiles says cheerfully. “We’ve been a thing ever since.” He leans over, lets his shoulder gently bump against Derek’s. “He’s a very good boyfriend,” he says conspiratorially.
When he glances over, he finds Derek is staring down at the table, blushing.
Lydia grins. “Oh, I’d imagine,” she says. “Derek, how’s Stiles?”
“Lydia, stop teasing them,” Erica says, rolling her eyes.
“But that’s the fun of a double date,” Lydia huffs playfully.
“Why don’t you tell us how you and Erica got together,” Stiles says quickly, before she can make any more embarrassing comments.
“It’s kind of a long story,” Lydia says hesitantly.
“Please, go ahead. I’m intrigued,” Stiles says. And besides, the longer she talks, the less he and Derek have to say about their non-existent relationship.
He spends the rest of the night trying to walk the line between pretending he and Derek are dating, and not actually weirding Derek out. He’s pretty sure he fails on the latter, though.
Every time he touches Derek, he automatically leans into it, and then sort of nervously shifts away. Sometimes he’ll glance over at Stiles, smiling, then suddenly look away with his jaw tense. It’s odd, and he isn’t sure what to make of it.
Once, in a surge of affection, Stiles plants a little kiss right on the curve of Derek’s shoulder.
Derek blushes for ten minutes.
Stiles kind of feels bad, but it’s also super adorable, so he doesn’t regret it.
Despite the awkwardness, they must manage to keep up appearances, because Lydia and Erica never once look suspicious.
Stiles has never been so grateful for a date to be over.
Erica and Derek slide out of the booth, heading up to the front of the restaurant. Stiles goes to follow them, but he’s held back by Lydia, who grabs him by the shoulder.
Is she on to him?
“Stiles, I’m glad you got your shit together and finally asked Derek out,” she says, and he breathes a little sigh of relief. “And I know you care about him, but I’m warning you, you better not hurt him. Don’t break his heart,” she warns, giving his shoulder a firm shake.
She walks away before he can say anything, and he just stares after her, his mouth hanging open.
When he pulls himself together, he sees Derek is waiting for him by the door, a tiny, shy smile on his face.
It makes his heart speed up, and he finds himself grinning before he even realizes he’s doing it.
“So, how’d the date go?” Scott asks the next morning, a smug little smirk on his face.
“Dude, did you know they were dating?” Stiles hisses. “Like, dating each other?”
“Hey, I tried to tell you,” he says, glancing at him and Derek. “But you guys didn’t want to hear it.”
“Well, we know now,” Derek grumbles.
“So what happened? Did Lydia throw her drink at you, or something?” Scott asks, amused.
“No, I uh, pretended we were dating, too,” Stiles says.
“You did what?” Scott says, eyes wide.
“Yeah,” Derek says dryly. “Apparently I’m a great boyfriend.”
Scott looks between Stiles and Derek, then starts laughing so hard he almost has an asthma attack. “This is too good,” he says, shaking his head. “So what are you guys going to do?”
“I figured we’d pretend to date for a few weeks, then have an amicable breakup,” Stiles says casually.
Derek gives him a startled look and says, “I can’t pretend to date you for weeks!”
“Dude, why not?” Stiles says, really trying not to be offended. “You got someone better lined up already? Is it that hard to fake liking me?”
“That’s not what I meant,” Derek says quickly. “Not at all.”
“Okay,” Stiles says, nonplussed. “So…you’ll do it, then?”
“Yeah,” Derek mumbles. “I’ll do it.”
“Sweet!” Stiles says, doing a couple of victorious fist pumps. “Operation Boyfriend is on!”
When he glances back at Scott, he’s giving Derek a knowing smile, and Derek is…blushing.
Stiles insists that they hold hands the rest of the day, and Derek begrudgingly agrees. Despite his apparent lack of enthusiasm, he holds on tight, and doesn’t seem to want to let go.
Stiles tries to make sure they walk to every class together, just to have another excuse to hold Derek’s hand.
At lunch, they still sit together, but this time Stiles makes sure to lean in, letting his shoulder rest lightly against Derek’s. He judges the quality of his actions by the changing expressions on Scott’s face. For someone who’s so lovey dovey with his girlfriend, he doesn’t have a very high tolerance for it in others.
He’s just stroking his fingers along Derek’s wrist, his head practically laying on Derek’s shoulder, when Derek says, “Don’t you think you’re being too obvious?”
“Um, no?” Stiles says, leaning just a little bit harder. “We’re supposed to be dating.”
“Yeah, but we went from almost no contact to this, pretty much overnight. Don’t you think Lydia is going to be suspicious?” Derek asks stiffly.
“No, she’s just going to think I’m treating you right,” Stiles mumbles quickly.
Derek’s head snaps around at that. “She thinks you’re a bad boyfriend?”
“No, no,” Stiles says, patting Derek’s arm soothingly. “She just wanted to make sure that I, uh, appreciated you. Which I do. Am doing. You know what I mean,” he says, and almost gets dislodged from Derek’s shoulder because of how hard he’s shaking with laughter.
“Wow, Stiles,” Scott says dryly, taking a sip of his juice. “That was incredibly smooth and romantic.”
That just makes Derek laugh harder, and Stiles has accept defeat and give up his spot on Derek’s shoulder.
“Anyway,” he says firmly. “Let’s focus up. It’s Friday night, and we should definitely go on a date. What do you want to do?”
“Can the date be on my couch, while we watch movies?” Derek says hopefully.
Stiles gives him a sour look. “It’s gotta be public. People gotta believe, man.”
“If they see your jeep parked at my house all weekend, they’ll certainly be believing something,” Derek says, raising his eyebrows suggestively.
“As much as I would like that reputation,” he says, poking Derek in the ribs, “No.”
“I thought you might say that,” Derek sighs. “Fine, we’ll go on an actual date. Do you want to take the Camaro?”
Stiles grins, and gives Derek a quick kiss on the cheek.
“This is not what I was expecting,” Derek says, accepting the ice cream cone.
“No?” Stiles asks, grabbing Derek’s free hand and leading him to the winding path around the park. “What were you expecting?”
“I don’t know, something more typical?” Derek shrugs, taking a bite from his cone.
Stiles snorts a laugh. “When have I ever been typical?”
“That’s fair,” Derek says, grinning. Then he says, “Oh,” when he looks away from his ice cream long enough to notice the sun setting.
Stiles gently squeezes his hand, and finds he can’t decide between looking at the beautiful sky and looking at Derek.
They finish their cones and walk a few more laps, talking quietly together, their shoulders brushing.
“Suppose I should be getting back,” Derek says with a sigh. “Laura wants to use the Camaro tonight.”
“All right,” Stiles says lightly, but he’s a little disappointed. He was kind of hoping they could sit on a park bench and look at the stars for a while.
They’re almost back to the parking lot when Stiles pulls them to a halt.
“What is it?” Derek asks, eyebrows pulling down.
“I—we should maybe—we’re going to have to—” Stiles tries, tongue tripping over what he wants to say. “Uh, can I kiss you?” he ends up blurting.
Derek stares at him in surprise, and then, for a moment, his whole expression softens. “Yeah,” he says quietly.
Stiles intends the kiss to be quick, more like a peck than anything. But once he feels Derek’s lips against his, he doesn’t want to stop. He lingers as long as he can, but eventually he has to drag himself away.
He’s breathing hard, and Derek is too, staring at Stiles with wide eyes.
“I gotta go,” he says abruptly, and then he’s gone.
Stiles stays for a while longer, staring at the night sky with his fingers pressed to his lips.
He does go to Derek’s house for part of the weekend, but Derek’s acting kind of strange, so Stiles doesn’t stay very long. He’s afraid he’s pushed the bonds of their friendship too far, and decides it’s probably best to back off a little.
But on Monday at school, Derek seems fine, letting Stiles hold his hand, and he even falls asleep on Stiles’ shoulder while they’re waiting outside their first class.
Stiles can’t resist carefully pulling out his phone and snapping a photo. He sets it as his background, and it makes him smile every time he looks at it.
He and Derek keep going on “dates.” They go to dinner, they go bowling with Scott and Allison, they hang out at the food court at the mall.
Sometimes they just hop into the Camaro and go driving around town.
Once, Stiles suggests they go to the makeout point, but Derek gives him a pained look and just drives them to a diner instead. Stiles figures he can take a hint, and quietly eats his curly fries.
Derek doesn’t even finish his milkshake.
He apologizes when he drops Stiles off, but Stiles isn’t really sure what for.
Still, it makes him feel better.
Stiles already has several ideas for their date tonight, and figures he might as well make the most of it, because his two weeks are about up.
He’d looked for Derek after the final bell, but didn’t see him anywhere. So he grabs what he needs from his locker and goes looking.
He eventually finds Derek behind the school, sitting under a tree. He doesn’t look happy, and Stiles feels his heart kick up with worry.
“Hey, are you okay?” he asks nervously, sitting down next to Derek.
“Yeah,” Derek says, but it’s not very convincing.
“Do you want to go to the movies tonight?” Stiles asks, hoping to distract Derek from whatever’s bothering him.
“No,” Derek says glumly.
“Want to go roller skating?”
“Want to go to the arcade?”
“Want to go to the aerospace museum?”
Derek sighs. “No,” he says.
Stiles feels his stomach sink. Looks like it’s over. “I’m sorry,” he says quietly. “For pulling you into this, and for making you go on so many dates with me. I didn’t mean to drag it out this long, but I just…I really liked it.”
“Liked what?” Derek asks, and his expression isn’t quite as dour as before.
Stiles takes a deep breath, trying to figure out what he wants to say. “I liked holding your hand. I liked going on dates with you, I liked that people thought we were really together. I liked being with you, Derek. I’ve always known you’re way out of my league, but I just—”
“What?” Derek cuts in. “Stiles, you are not out of my league.” He sits up straight then, eyes searching Stiles’ face. “Are you saying you want to date me? Like, for real?”
“Only for like two years now,” Stiles says with a little grin. “But I’m just an awkward dork who’s kind of weird looking. What chance did I have with—”
He’s interrupted when Derek kisses him, but he can’t say he minds.
About a week into them actually dating, Stiles shows Derek the picture he has saved to his phone.
Derek gives him a fond look, then insists that they take one where they’re both awake. So Stiles snaps one when they’re snuggled up on the couch together, Derek’s head resting on his chest. Derek has a soft, warm smile, his hand protectively curved over Stiles’ hip. Stiles can see the quiet happiness in both of their faces, can see how well they fit together.
It’s definitely his new favorite picture.