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You and Your Stupid, Perfect Smile

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"I hope you don't mind that I took a shower," said a distracted, vaguely familiar male voice from the doorway.

Stiles turned around to face the voice, bag of coffee beans in hand, and promptly dropped the bag to the kitchen floor with a dull thud. A few beans escaped the partially-opened flap, and they skittered across the red tiles as if fleeing for their lives. Not that Stiles gave a fuck about fugitive coffee beans. He was far too concerned with the sight before him.

Standing in the kitchen doorway, obviously fresh from the shower and garbed only in a damp towel, stood the hottest guy Stiles had ever met in his life. More importantly, Stiles knew this guy. Well, not knew knew. They weren't, like, friends or anything. But this was 8:15 AM, triple grande salted caramel latte guy. This was the customer he had fallen in lust at first sight with on his second day on the job three months ago. Stiles even knew his name, since he'd had to write it on the cup so many times. This was Derek.

Derek, who was looking at him in shock and alarm, hands quickly grabbing at the slipping towel and Adam's apple working as he swallowed. "You. You're not... You're um. Wait." He blinked those damn gorgeous eyes of his and took a step into the kitchen, recognition dawning on his face. "No fucking way," he whispered, as if talking to himself. "What are you doing here?"

"You know me?" Stiles squawked, before clearing his throat and trying again with a voice more his usual timbre. "I mean, yeah, right, I think I've seen you at the coffee shop before. A time or two, maybe."

Bushy brows coming down low over his eyes, Derek took yet another step into the kitchen. "I go there every day. You say my order to me before I even make it to the register."

Stiles gave a nervous little laugh and made a big deal out of discovering the bag of coffee on the floor, then retrieving it and turning to set it on the counter. "Ah, yeah. Yeah, I think I remember now. You, um, look different...with clothes."

It was Derek's turn to clear his throat, and Stiles heard him take a few steps back towards the hall. "Speaking of, maybe I should...yeah. Okay."

Stiles bit his lip, then spun around and called out to Derek before the guy could disappear back into Erica's bedroom, where he undoubtedly had stayed the night (certainly hadn't stayed in Stiles' bed, that's for damn sure, which was a pity). "I'm gonna make some breakfast. You, er, want some?"

Derek popped his head back into the doorway, looking startled again. "I. Um. Yeah. Sounds good."

"Good. You like eggs and bacon?"

"Yeah. Love 'em."

"Great!"

"Yeah."

"So. Um. You should probably go get dressed now?"

"Oh! Oh, right. Yes. Be right back."

Once Derek had vanished again, Stiles sagged back against the counter and let out a shaky breath. What the fuck kind of day was he going to have, if this was his morning?

---------

"You know, I'm feeling sort of swindled in this. I mean, here I am cooking the Morning After breakfast, and I didn't even get to experience the fun part." Belatedly realizing how his words could be taken, Stiles turned to face the tiny kitchen table where Derek was sitting. Derek was just biting his lip as if trying not to laugh, so Stiles cleared his throat and returned his attention to the eggs in the pan.

"So, where and how did you and Erica meet?" Stiles asked as if he really wanted to know.

"A friend of a friend's get together. My sisters have been hounding me to get out and mingle, and my friend Isaac thought he'd help out by literally dragging me there."

"Well, hey, at least it wasn't all bad, right?" Stiles aimed for levity, but his smile hurt and his laugh felt a bit forced. He was going to have words with Erica later. So many words.

When Derek replied, his voice was surprisingly soft and gentle. "No, not bad at all." Glancing over at the man, Stiles saw him staring back with a tiny smile playing on his lips and his eyes sparkling. Fucking sparkling. Stiles didn't even know eyes really did that outside cheesy romance stories.

"Food's ready!" Piling two plates full of bacon and eggs, Stiles hurried over to the table. "I know it's not a sugary breakfast pastry, but hopefully you'll be able to make do." He flashed a teasing grin at Derek and was pleased to get a chuckle in response.

"Hey now, pumpkin bread is almost like eating a vegetable, right?"

"Is a pumpkin a vegetable or a fruit, though? I mean, it's the nutrient-rich container for the seeds, and not just an edible part of a plant, so I'm pretty sure it'd be considered a fruit?"

"Hm?" Derek asked eloquently, his lips wrapped around a forkful of yolky eggs as he blinked at Stiles. His lips were smeared a glistening yellow, and it wasn't fair that even that was sexy on this guy. After slowly chewing and swallowing his mouthful, Derek licked his lips and said, "Okay, then so it's considered eating a fruit."

Stiles had gotten derailed when Derek had licked his lips, though, so he honestly had no idea what they were even talking about anymore. "Huh? What is?"

"Pumpkin bread."

"Is what?"

"Considered the same as eating some fruit."

"What? No way. That's like saying eating the lemon pound cake is like eating fruit."

Derek snorted and smiled down at his plate. "I'm sure an all-protein breakfast isn't much better. Not that I'm complaining, of course. It's delicious and a wonderful change from my usual."

"I know, right! Just don't tell my dad. I'm always trying to get him to eat healthy, and in doing so have vowed to try to do so, as well, so we can live longer lives in misery together."

"Misery?"

"I miss pizza."

"Oh. Well, that's understandable. I don't think I could live without pizza."

Nodding emphatically, Stiles swallowed his bite of bacon. "It's pretty much the closest thing to experiencing heaven while still alive."

"Really? I'd say sex was."

In an effort to not let that line affect him, Stiles scoffed and crunched on another piece of bacon before replying. "Evidently you've not had the right pizza, my man." He quickly shoveled a heaping spoonful of eggs into his mouth to make himself shut the fuck up.

Derek smirked around his own bite of bacon, before swallowing and saying with a voice that was totally not fair, "I think it's more that you haven't been having the right sex."

He hadn't finished chewing before he swallowed all that egg, and his eyes watered a bit as he nearly choked on it. "I call foul! The guy who scored the night before doesn't get to mock the woefully lacking sex life of the guy who didn't. That's just cruel."

Fork paused halfway to his mouth, Derek gave Stiles an incredulous look. "You're shitting me. There's no way you're single."

"Um, what?" What was that boy smoking, because what?

"What about that blond girl at the coffee shop?"

What was even happening? Were they really having this conversation? "Who, Heather? Okay, no. First of all, it is fucking stupid as hell to date a coworker, and that is a personal policy of mine that I always enforce. Secondly, Heather has been seriously dating some guy for over a year. Like, I fully expect her to walk in with a honking diamond on her finger any day now. Well maybe not a huge diamond, since her guy's still pretty low on the food chain at his company. But you get the point."

Derek just stared at him, food totally forgotten, with a look as if Stiles had just flipped his entire world upside-down. "Oh."

"Yeah, oh. So, no, not dating Heather. Not dating anyone, sadly enough. We should totally change the subject, because no one should think depressing things at the start of the day. Where are you from?"

It took a few seconds for Derek to catch up, but then he was suddenly smiling and poking at his eggs in a manner that one could almost consider shy. If, that is, someone could ever think such a fucking perfect specimen of embodied hotness had the ability to actually be shy. "Not far from here, actually. A place called Beacon Hills, about an hour north-west."

"Get the fuck out, no way! Me, too!"

Derek's head shot up, and if anything his smile seemed to grow. "Really?"

"Yeah, man! My dad's the sheriff, actually."

"No shit."

"Yup. Sheriff John Stilinski."

"Your name is Stiles Stilinski?"

"Nickname, dude. Trust me, you do not want to know what the real name is. It's really better for all of humanity if I never use it. It's a name that should just die and be buried somewhere deep and covered in cement."

Derek laughed, and Stiles felt like maybe he could fall more than in lust with the man. "Good of you to save humanity by using a nickname, then."

"What can I say? I'm a regular humanitarian." He felt Derek's foot nudge against his own beneath the table, and the man was staring at him with such a warm smile on his face. Part of Stiles wanted to believe there was some interest there, some subtle flirting and inviting signals, but the rational side of his brain pointed out how totally ridiculous that was. Derek had just spent the night with Erica, so why would he be flirting with Stiles? When one had a blond bombshell ready and willing to take a tumble in the sheets, one did not usually pass it up for lanky grad students with a tendency to ramble.

Beneath the table, Derek's foot slid further along Stiles' own, until their calves were pressed softly together. "What are the odds that two Beacon Hillians would find each other in this city?"

"Beacon Hillians?" Stiles laughed, trying to ignore the press of leg-on-leg and the glances and the continued smiling.

"Well this looks cozy." Erica's amused voice had Stiles jerking back in his chair so quickly he nearly toppled backwards. The only thing that saved him was Derek catching the chair by hooking his foot in the cross bar between the two front legs. When the chair slammed back down on all fours, Stiles' fork fell from his hand and clattered onto his plate, sending bits of egg splattering onto the tabletop. Erica snorted at the display and sauntered into the kitchen towards the refrigerator. Judging by her outfit, she had obviously been out jogging, and Stiles tried not to be jealous over the fact that his friend looked smokin' hot when she should have looked all gross and sweaty.

"Mornin'," she greeted with a sly smile slanted Derek's way. “I see someone’s in a good mood.”

Derek ducked his head and continued eating, but Stiles could see the smile he was trying to hide around each mouthful. When the tips of Derek’s ears turned red, Stiles could take no more. He stood suddenly from the table, his chair screeching its protest against the tiles. “Well, this has been lovely, but I have to go.”

Erica gave him a weird look over the bottle of juice she’d just been rudely drinking directly from. “You don’t have class today, and you’re off work.” To the last part, she hooked a thumb at the work schedule Stiles had stuck to the front of the fridge with a line of magnet poetry that read “intrepid zombies swim in purple dreams of goddess brains.”

“Study group,” Stiles responded with an absent shrug as he tossed the remainder of his breakfast and put his plate in the sink. “Big exam coming up, and so a few of us were going to review together.”

“You mean watch C.S.I.”

Stiles stuck his tongue out at Erica. “That was one time. And Trevor is no longer in charge of our study sessions. Mostly because he has finally flunked out of the class.”

“What are you studying?” asked Derek, causing Stiles to pause on his way out and slowly turn back to face the rest of the kitchen. He had been trying valiantly to ignore Derek in order to make a relatively painless exit. So much for that idea.

Biting his lip, Stiles looked at Derek’s shoulder instead of his stupidly pretty eyes. “This time specifically, or in general?”

Derek--damn him--shifted so that Stiles accidentally made eye contact, which was then nearly impossible to break. “In general.”

“Going for my masters in criminal justice.”

Erica was suddenly right behind Derek’s chair, running her fingers playfully through his hair. “Stiles wants to be a police detective.”

There was such a warmth to the smile that brought to Derek’s face, and Stiles could feel himself slipping even further into the Danger Zone. “So law enforcement must be in the blood.”

Swallowing, Stiles gave an artfully careless shrug. “Something like that. Well. Um. I gotta go, so...”

“You mind giving Derek a ride?” Erica practically purred, her fingers now scritching at Derek’s scalp as if he were a fucking puppy. “I drove us here last night, so his car is still at Boyd’s.”

Instead of snapping that Erica should give him a ride back her own damn self, Stiles just swallowed again and nodded. “Yeah, sure, no problem. Boyd’s is on my way.” It was odd, however, how much that made Erica grin, and how Derek looked downright hopeful.

---------

“Thanks for giving me a ride,” said Derek, as he made absolutely no move to undo his seatbelt and exit the vehicle. “I appreciate it.”

“No prob, man. Anytime.” Seriously. Stiles had enjoyed the hell out of their brief drive. It was like as soon as they were away from Erica, all the awkwardness melted away and they were just like they had been over breakfast, all friendly chatter and teasing jokes. It was really quite nice, and Stiles was kind of sad to see it end so soon.

Derek was still just sitting there, gaze flicking over Stiles’ face, when finally he licked his lips and asked, “So, how long do your study sessions tend to last?”

“Meh,” Stiles said with a toss of his hand, “they tend to vary. I doubt this one will last more than a few hours, max. No matter what, though, I’m totally going to make sure I get back in time for the game tonight. Mets versus the Giants, man. Can’t miss that.”

Grinning wide, Derek nodded in emphatic agreement. “It’s going to be epic. The Giants are going to wipe the floor with them.”

Stiles looked at Derek with exaggerated affront. “Get the fuck out of my car, you heathen.”

“Heathen?” laughed Derek, eyebrows raised.

“Your taste in baseball teams is deplorable. I can’t have you sitting there, dirtying up my front seat with your shamefulness.” And, whoa, Stiles really needed to work on word choice.

Derek just laughed harder, but he finally unbuckled his seatbelt and stepped out of the Jeep. “It was really great talking with you, Stiles,” he said, leaning against the doorframe and grinning like a gorgeous idiot.

Stiles swallowed and cleared his throat. “Yeah. Same. We should, um, do it again sometime. Talk. And stuff.”

“I’d like that.” Then, before Stiles could process whether or not Derek’s voice was flirtatious or just friendly, he was closing the door and walking away towards a totally fucking sweet Camaro.

“Oh, my god,” Stiles muttered under his breath, trying to get himself to calm the fuck down and stop acting like some silly high school kid with a crush. As he started to pull away, he was sure he caught Derek glancing at him over his shoulder with a little smirk.

---------

“Er. Erica’s not...here.” Stiles stood in the entryway of his apartment, staring at what had to be a figment of his imagination standing in the open doorway. Because, really, there was no way that Derek was back again so soon (was it really just this morning that they’d hung out?), standing at his door with two six packs of expensive craft beer, and a T-shirt so tight it should be fucking illegal.

Derek raised his eyebrows and stared at Stiles expectantly, as if waiting for him to say something else. So, Stiles licked his lips and continued with, “But would you like to come in and hang out? The game’s about to start. We can watch your team get murdered by my team. It’ll be great fun. There’s a toll, though, to pass through this doorway, and that toll is at least one of those tasty looking fancy beers.”

“Help yourself,” Derek offered, holding one of the packs up for Stiles to take. “I got two different kinds, because I wasn’t sure if you’d like lager or stout.”

“Fuck, but you are just too perfect to be true. Seriously. Come in, you magnificent bastard, and have a seat while I order a pizza. Any preferences?”

Derek grinned wide and feral as he slid past Stiles in the narrow entryway. “Meat lover, myself.”

“Man after my own fucking heart.”

“I thought you weren’t allowed to eat pizza anymore, though,” Derek called over his shoulder as he wandered over to the couch.

“Today is a cheat day already, so I thought why not, ya know?” Stiles tore his eyes away from Derek’s ass and forced himself to focus on his phone. It was a cheat day as far as food, he had to remind himself, not as far as his roommate’s hot new boyfriend.

That night was the best Stiles had experienced in years, and the realization was bittersweet. Every time one of them would cheer smugly over his team’s awesome play, they almost seemed to drift closer on the couch. He devoured every expression Derek displayed, stored them all away in a special place so he could melt over them later.

It was stupid, he knew.

Even so, he couldn’t help but let himself at least partly believe that this was something more than two new friends hanging out. Derek would touch his shoulder or arm or even leg, and Stiles’ heart would slam against his ribs harder than when he watched the players run the bases.

Several beers deep, and Stiles couldn’t help but lean in a bit too much, be just as touchy as Derek, with touches that maybe lingered a tad bit longer. When the Mets ultimately claimed victory, Stiles jumped to his feet to do a victory dance, and immediately fell back to the couch with all the coordination and grace of one who’s tipsy on expensive beer. Derek broke his fall, laughing and running large, strong hands over Stiles in an effort to position him a in way that didn’t result in knees and elbows jabbing sensitive areas.

Somehow that resulted in Stiles straddling Derek’s lap, their laughter melting slowly to warm puffs of air on each other’s lips. Part of Stiles’ brain told him to move, to get off, that this was dangerous and wrong and think of Erica. But the rest of his brain was caught on the way that Derek was staring at his lips, and how the tip of a pink tongue peeked out to moisten Derek’s own lips.

“Erica will probably be home soon,” Stiles heard himself say.

Derek’s hands seemed to flinch where they gripped his hips. “Yeah. I should probably get going, actually.”

Stiles blinked and shook his head, confused. “But don’t you want to see her?”

“We can catch up later. Not a big deal.” His thumbs felt almost like they were caressing small circles on Stiles’ sides, before Derek heaved a sigh and his hands fell away. “I should go.”

“Yeah.”

“Stiles, that means you have to get off of me.”

“Huh? Oh! Oh, yeah. Yes. Sorry.” Face burning, Stiles scrambled off of Derek and stepped back a few feet to allow the other man to stand. “Sorry about falling on you.”

“It’s fine.” Derek smiled reassuringly at him as he rose with a fluid grace that Stiles would never in his life be able to pull off. “Thanks for letting me hang out and watch the game.” His smile tipped a bit towards inviting and he took a shuffling step closer to Stiles. “It was fun.”

“Yeah.” Stiles found himself staring at Derek’s mouth again, and no amount of concerted effort was able to draw his attention away. “Thanks for the beer. Sorry I drank more than you did.”

Derek gave a one-shouldered shrug. “I’m not much of a drinker. Doesn’t really do much to me.”

“Awful expensive brew you bought, for someone who doesn’t drink,” Stiles noted with an arch of his brows.

“It was more for you than me,” Derek said with another shrug. “But I knew that if I was going to drink any, I’d at least want it to taste good.”

“Makes sense.”

They ran out of words and stood there awkwardly staring at each other, less than an arm’s span apart. Derek finally broke the silence by clearing his throat and scratching the back of his neck while he stared down at Stiles’ feet. “Have you seen the new Superman movie?”

“Huh?” Unsure where that had come from, Stiles blinked and slowly shook his head. “No, haven’t had the chance. I’m usually more of a Batman guy myself, anyway. Supes is such a fucking Boy Scout.”

Derek suddenly looked like a kicked puppy, and he glanced askance towards the door. “Oh. Well, it’s just that I’ve been wanting to see it, and I haven’t been able to find anyone who’d be willing to go with me. And, well, you know that it’s not nearly as fun to go to the movies alone, so...”

Oh shit. “Yes! I mean, ahem, yes. Yes, if you’d like to take me to the movies--I mean go to the movies with me--um, I mean, like, the two of us go together. Fuck. Hey, you wanna catch that Superman movie later this week?”

When Derek finally looked back at him, he was pressing his mouth down in a frown that was an obvious attempt to stop from laughing, his eyes doing that goddamn sparkling thing again. “That sounds great. When do you get out of class on Wednesday?”

“So soon?” Stiles blurted, then pressed his lips together and barely resisted slapping himself in the mouth.

Starting to look unsure of himself again, Derek cringed a little and forced a smile. “I, um, really want to see the movie?”

“I’ll say! Well, hm... I get out at five that day, but I will be starving by that point, since I don’t really get a break between that and my earlier class, which means I’ll be running on granola bar fumes from the five minute gap I do have. So, I’ll need to eat first or else we run the risk of me turning zombie on your ass and gnawing your brains right out of your skull in an attempt at obtaining nutrients. So, we could maybe catch a showing at, like, six-thirty or something?”

“Or we could eat first.” Derek had said the words nearly all at once, and his jaw made a click sound as he forced it closed at the end. Stiles thought it was rather odd that a guy as awesome as Derek was so nervous about making new friends. It was kind of cute, in a totally perplexing way.

“Dinner and a movie. That is so sweet.” Stiles went for teasing, but Derek brightened as if it were real praise, so Stiles just chuckled softly to himself and let it slide. “So, you wanna meet here or at the food place or what?”

“Food place?” Derek snorted, and his wide, sexy grin was back. Mm, Stiles would totally lick that grin if he were allowed. Goddamn.

“You know what I mean, smart guy.”

“How about I pick you up here? That way you only have to worry about driving from school to here in your food-deprived state.”

“Sounds good. Say...five-twenty?”

“Perfect. I’ll see you then.” They had slowly started to drift towards the door while they settled the time, and all too soon Derek was standing partway in the hall. He continued to grin at Stiles, and the way he dragged his feet it seemed like he really didn’t want to go. “Good-night,” he said in a half-murmur, leaning in a bit close as his heavy-lidded eyes flicked down to Stiles’ mouth then up to lock gazes with him.

“You, too,” Stiles whispered, feeling like he must have passed out from all the beer and this was just a very lovely dream. It almost looked like Derek wanted to kiss him, which was ridiculous because Derek was with Erica. Right. Fuck. Derek was with Erica. Stiles leaned away and plastered on a smile. “Drive safely.”

He was fairly sure that he was just imagining the disappointment on Derek’s face when he shut the door.

---------

Stiles barely glanced up from his essay when he heard Erica come home. “Derek was here earlier,” he called out as his fingers clacked away. “You missed him by like an hour.”

“Derek was here? Again? So soon?” Erica tossed her coat over the back of the armchair and made herself at home beside Stiles on the couch. “Spill.”

“Nothing really to spill. We watched the game.” He did glance up then, and frowned at the moue of confusion on Erica’s face.

“But you had fun,” she pressed, more of an assertion than a question.

“Yeah. We even made plans to hang out in a couple days. Grab something to eat, catch a movie.”

Weirdly enough, that made Erica squeal and jiggle around in her seat, blond curls flying everywhere. “Yes! Awesome! I knew it! So you like him?”

“Um. Yeah? What’s not to like?”

She unleashed another disturbingly girlish sound and leapt to her feet. “This is great! I’m calling him now. Do you mind if I call him now?”

He stared at her, wondering if all the hours working retail finally had driven her insane like she’d always threatened. “Why would I mind?” But she was already down the hall and in her room before he’d finished his sentence.

Shaking his head, he looked back down at his essay. Only, he couldn’t really focus on the words anymore. All he could think about was Erica talking to Derek and being all sweet and lovey and excited that her friend approved. Feeling sick, he pushed his laptop aside and fished out his phone. Nothing worked to cheer him up better than his BFF Scott.

“Stiles! The Mets killed it, man, did you see! I bet you did a victory dance.”

“Hey, bud.” He smiled and leaned back into the plush couch cushions, trying hard not to think about his failed victory dance and the way it ended with him on Derek’s lap just inches away from where he was currently sitting. “While the Mets victory was indeed sweet, that’s not really what I’m calling about.”

Scott, being the super awesome ultra best buddy that he was, instantly detected the hint of pain in Stiles’ voice, and switched gears accordingly. “What’s wrong, dude?”

“You remember that guy I told you about? That regular customer with the perpetual stubble and leather jacket, Derek?”

“Prince Derek? Dat Ass Derek? He’s Giving Me A Derektion? That Derek? Never heard of him.”

Stiles snickered and felt a true grin split his face. His Scott was the best Scott, and all other Scotts could just go the fuck home, because his Scott wins. “You massive dork. Yes. That Derek.”

“What about hi--wait, he didn’t turn you down or something, did he? Oh shit, did you actually work up the nerve to ask him out, and then he, like, said something totally dick? Do you need me to kick some ass for you?”

“Whoa there, asthma boy. I don’t think you need to go around kicking anyone’s ass. And, no, that didn’t happen. Believe it or not, something worse has happened.”

“What could possibly be worse than rejection, dude?”

Sighing, Stiles stared up at the ceiling and bemoaned his life. “He’s dating Erica. Not only that, but I think he’s trying to be my friend to make Erica happy or some bullshit. We hung out and watched the game together today, and he wants to see Man of Steel with me in a few days.”

Scott made an affronted sound. “I’m so fucking jealous right now. Those are things I should be doing with you!”

“Scott, focus. Besides, you can’t, considering you decided to go to vet school halfway across the fucking country.”

“It’s a good school.”

“No doubt. It sure as hell better be, since it’s stolen my best friend.”

“At least it’s not some dude stealing me. You tell Derek I don’t care how fine his ass is, that he can’t have my status as best bro.”

“No one can steal your spot, Scott. Now, seriously, can we swing the focus back around to me and my distress? How am I supposed to just calmly play the role of good pal while Erica gets to have what I really want with Derek?” Stiles sat up and twisted around to make sure Erica’s door was still closed, then dropped his voice to a cautious whisper. “I’m pretty sure I nearly kissed him tonight.”

“You slut,” joked Scott with a laugh.

“No, man, I’m serious. I fell on his lap and we were totally looking at each other’s lips, and he totally licked his lips and I seriously thought for a moment we were going to kiss.”

There was a low, disapproving sound from Scott’s end. “Sounds like a douche if he’s potentially cheating on his girlfriend with her roommate.”

“Well, they might not really be in a really real relationship yet? I thought it might have been a one night stand sort of deal, but then he kept wanting to hang out with me, and Erica is flipping her shit in excitement over my approval. So, like, I don’t fucking know.” He scratched at his hair and continued to keep an eye on Erica’s room. “I might also have just been doing a great deal of wishful thinking in that moment. I mean, if he’s with Erica, why would he want me, right?”

“Dude,” said Scott, his voice chiding. “Don’t start with that shit again. You are a total catch. All the babes should want you.”

“Should, but don’t, Scott.”

“Stiles, you have a knack for being totally oblivious about people wanting you.”

Stiles let out a skeptical hum. “You are a kind man, Scott McCall. Kinder than an asshole like me deserves.”

“You aren’t a--okay, well maybe sometimes--”

“I don’t want to talk about my shitty guy troubles anymore. Let’s talk about the game.”

“Fucking epic, man!”

---------

Derek showed up at the coffee shop on Monday at the exact same time he always did, but something about him seemed...different. “Is it just me,” Heather whispered while pretending to wipe down the counter next to Stiles, “or are his pants tighter than normal?”

Oh. Oh, but the Gods were cruel motherfuckers.

As soon as it was his turn in the queue, Derek smiled wide and strolled up to practically lean across the counter on his elbows. “Hey, Stiles,” he greeted, one side of his smile tilting up a bit more in such a charmingly roguish way.

“The usual?” Stiles chirped back, grinning his patented customer service grin.

Derek nodded and leaned a bit closer, dropping his voice to a more intimate level. “And since I can’t get some more of your delicious cooking, I’ll just have a slice of pumpkin bread on the side.”

Stiles swallowed as he felt his cheeks bloom red. “Okay, but don’t try to pass it off as your fruit for the day,” he teased, trying to laugh off his sudden onset of nerves.

“I’ll be a good boy,” Derek promised as he slid his card across the counter for Stiles to ring him up.

Letting out another awkward laugh, Stiles returned the card and handed over the pastry. “Good. Great. Your health is very important.”

Derek just grinned at him and moved away towards the pick-up area to await his drink. Once he finally left, Heather sidled up next to Stiles and whispered harshly, “What aren’t you telling me, Stilinski?”

“Wha?”

“He was totally eye-fucking you the entire time he was here. And that lean! And that smile! Those were flirtatious leanings and smilings!” Her eyes were wide, and she looked torn between cheering and chastising.

“He’s just a friend!” Stiles objected. “And, like, barely that! He’s dating my roommate.”

Heather gave him very skeptical eyebrows. “Bullshit.”

---------

Stiles’ case was not helped by Derek’s repeat performances on Tuesday and Wednesday. Wednesday was worse, actually.

“I’m really looking forward to tonight,” murmured Derek, leaning so far over the counter he could practically purr it in Stiles’ ear if he wanted.

“Yeah,” Stiles agreed absently as he punched in Derek’s order and tired to look only partially invested in the conversation. “Supposed to be a decent movie.”

“I was thinking we could go to Arborio’s for dinner tonight. What do you think?”

Stiles nearly punched in a $300 order, cursed, and quickly backed out to correct the mistake. Crisis averted, he looked up to gape at Derek. “That’s my favorite place.”

He smiled back, meeting Stiles’ eyes with a pleased confidence. “I know. Erica told me.”

“Oh.” Stiles handed Derek his card and order numbly, unsure how to feel about that.

---------

Hungry and anxious, Stiles stood in front of the mirror on his door and scrutinized his wardrobe choice. He was half tempted to ask Erica for advice, since she was home for the evening, but he felt a bit odd asking her to help him pick something out that would impress her boyfriend. Chewing his lip, he turned one way and then back the other. He was wearing a dark gold button-up that he’d been told really brought out the gold undertones of his eyes, but he just wasn’t sure it was good enough. Then again, who was he fucking kidding? Like anything he wore would be good enough for Dat Ass Derek. Fuck.

There was a knock at the apartment door, and despite Stiles’ desperate “I’ll get it!” Erica beat him to it. She swung open the door with a wide smirk, and cocked her hip against the frame as she shamelessly oggled Derek in his positively edible ensemble of earthy green button-up (talk about bringing out the brilliance of one’s eyes, holy shit) and sinfully tailored slacks.

“Oh, now I’m almost jealous,” she purred.

Stiles belted out a loud, stiff, obviously fake laugh and shouldered past her to join Derek out in the hall. “What? Jealous? Don’t be silly! Psh! What? No! Bye!” He closed the door as quickly as possible, and tugged Derek away from the apartment as Erica’s laughter followed their retreat.

“You look good,” Derek said later, over dinner (which was fucking divine). “I never noticed how gold your eyes were, before. They look a bit like--” He seemed to suddenly realize something, and cut himself off with a generous sip of wine.

“No, don’t stop there. Like what? Two pools of molten gold? Like the sunset over a secluded bay? Like the morning rays of dawn slipping in through the curtains? Please, by all means, finish the lovely cliche. My heart’s all aflutter.”

Derek choked on his wine, but laughed his way through it. “Something like all those things, yeah.”

“Mm,” Stiles hummed, resting his chin on his hands and staring across the romantic table spread at Derek. “And your eyes are like the shores of tropical islands. A central ring of brown, bleeding out into greens and Caribbean blues.” When Derek stopped laughing and stared at him with a suddenly very serious (and hopeful?) expression, Stiles realized that his teasing sounded a tad too sincere, and he quickly looked away and gulped down his own wine.

“The movie starts soon,” he eventually said to clear the air of all the intensity. Derek made a mild sound of agreement and waved down their server to bring the check. When Derek insisted he pay for the entire meal, Stiles only relented if he’d be allowed to get their movie tickets.

They were both a bit over-dressed for the film, but they didn’t care. It was a perfect distraction for Stiles--all action and adventure and motherfucking super heroes. But, he’d keep making the mistake of looking over at Derek to share in a moment, and find the man smiling at him with such obvious affection.

When Derek took his hand halfway through and rubbed his thumb along Stiles’ knuckles, he knew. It hadn’t all been wishful thinking, hadn’t all been in his mind. He didn’t know what to think, how to feel. On the one hand, he was beyond thrilled that the man of his dreams was evidently just as into him. On the other hand, he couldn’t do that to Erica.

He allowed the hand-holding throughout the rest of the movie, but then jerked his hand away once it was finally time to leave. Derek walked far too close to him as they made it out to the car, and more than once Stiles found himself dodging the man’s reaching hand’s, trying hard to make it look unintentional. Once they were seated in Derek’s Camaro, Stiles felt like jumping back out and making a run for it. This was fucking torture. The man he wanted was right there and wanted him, too, but he couldn’t have him! He couldn’t! He was an asshole, yeah, but he refused to be a complete dick. Erica deserved better.

“What’s wrong?” Derek asked, making no move to start the car.

“Nothing,” Stiles said with a shrug and a smile. “Just thinking about the movie, that’s all.”

Derek frowned and looked like he was going to say more, but then he just gave a little nod and slid the key into the ignition. The ride back to the apartment was awkward and filled with glances from Derek and forced smiles from Stiles. It was fucking hell.

“Let me walk you to your door,” Derek offered once they finally arrived, and Stiles fought hard not to give him an incredulous look. Because, really? Really? He couldn’t tell that the atmosphere wasn’t exactly welcoming?

“Um. Naw, I’m good. Thanks.” Stiles was out of the car and in the apartment building before Derek would have time to object.

---------

Erica was out when he got home, and he made sure to be locked away in his room pretending to sleep when she finally got back late that evening. He did his best to avoid her for the next few days, especially since she would always have this strange look on her face that was a cross between confusion and anger whenever she saw him. Whenever she’d open her mouth to say something, Stiles would make some lame excuse and rush out of the apartment.

As much as it sucked to feel uncomfortable in his own home, it was worse when he went to work. On Thursday morning, he saw Derek pause on the sidewalk outside the shop’s door, before cringing and continuing on his way. Derek didn’t even pass by the place on Friday morning. Heather kept darting Stiles concerned looks throughout their shifts, and it had never been more difficult to maintain his professional smile and good customer service.

He kept telling himself that it was no big deal. Why would he want to date someone who could cheat on his partner anyway? And if this put a strain on Erica and Derek’s relationship, good, because she deserved better than to be treated like that.

Still. He missed Derek. He missed Derek like whoa.

---------

Saturday morning felt a bit like deja vu, except one of the key players was replaced by a different actor. Boyd gave him a little nod as they passed in the hall, Stiles on his way to the bathroom, Boyd on his way from the bathroom and into Erica’s room. For a solid ten minutes, Stiles just stood there in the middle of the hall and tried to figure out what the fuck was going on.

When Erica and Boyd both came out later in search for food, Stiles was waiting for them at the kitchen table, cup of coffee having long gone cold in his hands. Erica glared at him a bit as she moved to gather breakfast things, but Boyd just took a seat across from Stiles with a lazy casualness.

“I was starting to think you’d died and become a ghost,” snarked Erica, which wasn’t her best work, but she hadn’t had her coffee yet, so could be excused.

Stiles tapped the rim of his mug with his fingers and glared down at the dark brew. He breathed deep and loud through his nose and tried to calm himself. Boyd glanced at him with an arched brow, then went right back to admiring the way Erica looked in shorts and a clingy tank top. Finally, Stiles could take no more, and he erupted with: “So does this mean you and Derek broke up?”

That got Boyd and Erica’s full attentions, and they stared at him with eyebrows raised so high they were like mini toupees for their foreheads. Finally Boyd started laughing contained, silent laughs that had his shoulders jerking and his torso curling in on itself. Erica just gaped for a moment more before pieces seemed to click into place in her mind and she reexamined Stiles as if seeing him under a completely different lense.

“We were never dating,” she said slowly, haltingly, as if speaking to some scared, stupid beast that could either bolt or lash out at any moment. “If anything, you two were.”

Stiles’ jaw dropped, and his hands flailed a bit as he exclaimed, “What? No! What! What about Saturday night!”

She just gave him a confused look, cocking her head to the side. “What about it?”

“He stayed the night! I assumed...”

Realization dawned in her eyes, and she bit her lip with an evil little snicker. “Oh. Oh, yeah, no that was totally not what you thought it was. He was sexiled from his own place, because his roommate had found some hot young thang at the party. I may have offered the use of my air mattress out of the goodness of my own heart.”

For some reason this made Boyd’s laughter move from silent to a strange melody of snorts and coughs.

“Or,” Erica continued, dragging the word out in a sing-song manner, “I may have offered because he’d spent the better part of that party bitching morosely about how the cute guy at the coffee shop was already taken. And, no, Isaac, he doesn’t want to dance with that guy over there, because that guy isn’t Cute Coffee Shop Guy. And did you know that Cute Coffee Shop Guy just has the best voice and smile and adorable, upturned nose?”

She grinned down at Stiles, and he could almost swear she had the sharp teeth of a beast. “Why, no, Derek,” she continued, obviously pretending to be herself and making a mockery of the exchange, “do tell me more. Does Cute Coffee Shop Guy have a name? Oh, really? That’s quite an interesting name. I wonder what kind of parent would name their child Stiles!”

For a fleeting moment, Stiles was filled with elation and hope, but then it all came crashing down as he remembered the way he’d treated Derek at the end of their date (fuck it had totally been a date! Shit!). He thought about the way Derek had paused outside the shop before pressing on, and how he hadn’t come in for his usual since that disastrous night.

“Oh, god,” he groaned, burying his face in his hands and doubling over in his seat. “Oh fuck. Erica, I’ve made a horrible mistake.”

“Let me guess,” Boyd seemed to finally have a handle on his laughter, because when he spoke, his voice was only a little bumpy with suppressed chuckling, “since you thought he and Erica were together, he tried something and you shot him down.”

Stiles nodded his head while still keeping his face firmly hidden in his palms. “He held my hand and tried to walk me to the door, and I was such a standoffish dick. Now he won’t even buy coffee from me.”

Surprisingly, Erica’s teasing instantly stopped. She tutted and moved to stroke her fingers through his hair. “He’d said you were suddenly really cold, and he wasn’t sure why. It’s sweet that you’d be such a good friend to me in the face of temptation, but sweetie...you gotta fix this.”

Nodding again, Stiles slowly lifted his head. “I’ll call him or text him or--fuck!” He nearly banged his forehead against the table in frustration, but Erica’s grip on his hair stopped him. “I don’t even have his fucking phone number!”

“Oh for fuck’s sake.” Giving his hair a playful tug that bordered on painful, Erica strode out of the kitchen to fetch her phone.

---------

To: Dat Ass Derek

Hey! So. Um. I’m evidently a complete moron. Also, hi, this is Stiles.

From: Dat Ass Derek

Hi. Can’t talk now.

To: Dat Ass Derek

Is that a REAL ‘can’t talk now,’ or are you just blowing me off? I mean, I can understand if you’re just blowing me off. I must have come across as such a fucking asshole. I’m really, really, infinitely sorry! I thought you were dating Erica.

From: Dat Ass Derek

What

To: Dat Ass Derek

Yeah. Um. That morning when you came out all fresh from the shower and naked and stuff, I totally thought you and Erica had hooked up the night before. To be fair, you did not correct me the couple times I mentioned it.

From: Dat Ass Derek

You mentioned it? And I was wearing a towel.

To: Dat Ass Derek

You were indeed, quite unfortunately. As great a sight as that was, I wouldn’t have minded if you’d forgotten the towel. And yeah, I totally mentioned it like at least twice. Once about how I was making Morning After breakfast without getting the benefits, and later about how guys who just scored the night before shouldn’t comment on those with lacking sex lives.

From: Dat Ass Derek

Ah. First time, I thought you were flirting. Second time, I honestly did not catch that part because I was distracted by the part about you being single.

To: Dat Ass Derek

Oh reeeeaaaaaally?

From: Dat Ass Derek

I don’t think we need to establish that I was interested. That’s kind of a known factor now, I’m assuming.

To: Dat Ass Derek

Was? Past tense?

From: Dat Ass Derek

That depends.

To: Dat Ass Derek

On?

From: Dat Ass Derek

You only acted like that because you thought I was seeing your friend?

To: Dat Ass Derek

OMG YES. If I knew you were even the slightest bit into me, I’d have behaved quite a bit differently. For one thing, that moment with me on your lap on the couch would have gone in a far more enjoyable direction than your departure.

From: Dat Ass Derek

Oh?

To: Dat Ass Derek

Oh, yes. Would you like me to detail it out for you? Because I promise you that I’ve quite the vivid scene mapped out.

From: Dat Ass Derek

I’d rather you enact it.

To: Dat Ass Derek

Oh, I could get behind that.

From: Dat Ass Derek

That, too.

To: Dat Ass Derek

Fuck. Um. Ok, so, if I haven’t screwed my chances entirely, would you be willing to go out with me tonight?

From: Dat Ass Derek

Tonight? That’s rather short notice. And kind of sudden.

To: Dat Ass Derek

Dude, you showed up at my door with beer, unannounced, only hours after having spent the morning with me.

From: Dat Ass Derek

What time would you like to get together tonight? And for what? Where?

To: Dat Ass Derek

8? Another movie? But, at my place instead of a theater? My couch misses you.

From: Dat Ass Derek

Only your couch? Want me to bring anything?

To: Dat Ass Derek

Not just my couch. ;) Bring yourself. Clothes optional, even.

From: Dat Ass Derek

Someone’s optimistic.

To: Dat Ass Derek

Just let it be known that I’m willing to do whatever you want for me to make it up to you. What. Ever. You. Want.

From: Dat Ass Derek

See you at 8

---------

“This movie is ridiculous,” laughed Derek, and Stiles felt some weight lift off his chest, because despite assurances he’d still worried that Derek was pissed at him. Seeing him laugh and smile and thoroughly enjoying himself as he was sprawled out on the couch made Stiles feel a little better.

“That’s the point,” Stiles said with a grin as he reached for his beer on the end table. “MST3k finds the worst films and rips on them. It’s fucking gold.”

Derek was still snickering, his eyes fucking sparkling again as he shook his head. “But this is so stupid! Just how many days in a row is it going to be the full moon? Do they not understand what waxing and waning is? And their concept of werewolves is way off!”

“Oh?” Stiles bumped his shoulder against Derek’s and laughed. “And what are you, an expert on werewolves all of a sudden?”

Smirking, Derek looked askance at Stiles. “Something like that.”

“Is that what you do for a living? Research werewolves?”

Derek seemed highly amused by that, and Stiles really liked his smile. Like, seriously, it was ridiculous how much he wanted to snap a photo of it and frame it in fucking gold and hang it above his goddamn mantlepiece. “Nothing so fascinating, I’m afraid. I’m just a video game designer.”

Stiles stopped smiling, and he quickly reached out to snatch up the remote and turn the TV off. Before Derek could ask him why, he was on his knees and moving to straddle Derek, much like he had after the Mets game. “Oh, my god,” Stiles whispered, his lips nearly brushing Derek’s. “You have no idea how sexy I find you right now.”

Derek blinked up at him for a second before positively beaming. “Oh yeah? Want me to tell you about my latest project?”

Tilting his head back, Stiles closed his eyes and moaned as he rocked his hips forward. “Fuck, yes.”

He heard Derek curse and felt strong hands quickly move to grip his hips. “Christ. Um. Oh, my god, Stiles. What was I talking about?”

“Video games,” gasped Stiles, rolling his hips again and delighting in the feel of Derek growing harder and harder against him.

“Yes. Yeah. Open world RPG.”

“Like Skyrim?”

“Fallout, actually. Working in conjunction with Bethesda on the next one.”

Stiles bit his lip as his rolling stuttered. “Fuck, Derek, keep talking like that and I’m going to come too soon.”

Derek let out something that sounded suspiciously like a whimper, and he lifted his hips up to meet Stiles’ own. “I can show you some of the designs.” Their dicks pressed together through too many layers of fabric, and Derek groaned. “Concept artwork. For characters.”

“Oh, my god, don’t stop.”

“Settings.”

Fingers shaking, Stiles reached between them to try to get at his and Derek’s flies. “Keep talking.”

“I’m working on the team developing some of the new mechanics.”

“I didn’t even think it was possible for you to be even sexier. Shit!” Stiles managed to get them both free of their jeans and underwear (boxers for Stiles, briefs for Derek--not that Stiles was surprised, considering the tightness of Derek’s pants). He wrapped his long fingers around the both of them and choked back a cry at the combination of the feel and sight of them rubbing together. “Keep going.”

“I don’t think I can,” confessed Derek, eyes glued to their laps, mesmerized by the movement of Stiles’ hand. “Do you realize we haven’t even kissed yet?”

“We haven’t?” Stiles looked up from watching himself jack them both, to stare in stunned wonder at Derek’s gorgeous face. “What the fuck is wrong with us?”

“Miscommunication,” gasped Derek, raising his own eyes and locking their gaze with Stiles’. “Goddamn, you are so fucking hot.”

Me?” balked Stiles. As much as one can balk while jacking two dicks and rocking wantonly on his boyfriend’s (did this make Derek his boyfriend?) lap. “Take a look in the mirror. For fuck’s sake.”

“Shut up,” said Derek with a smile that looked absolutely perfect set against his arousal-red cheeks. “Just...just kiss me, already.”

Stiles grinned back and leaned forward to comply.