"We're opening up a coffee shop," Laura announced one morning, barging into his room and ignoring his squawk of protest when he tumbled off the side, collapsing onto a heap on the floor with a loud thud.
"No, we're not," Stiles returned firmly, his voice a tad indignant as he got up, untangling himself from his sheets. "That's a horrible idea."
"Not me and you," Laura rolled her eyes. "I'm aware of your whole thing with coffee."
Stiles scoffed at her tone. His vendetta against coffee was serious and he had a legitimate excuse for hating the damn thing.
When he was 16, some guys at his highschool thought it was funny to replace every chocolate drink in the cafeteria with coffee as black and strong as mud. Even growing up, coffee had never been something he liked to drink, but this had been the final nail in the coffin.
Stiles had never been so badly betrayed by chocolate before.
"So about the coffee shop," Laura reminded him, waiting him out. She knew him well enough by now to be able to tell when his head was doing its weird tangent/deviation thing and could also figure out when he got his headspace back into the current conversation. "Derek and I are opening one."
"Oh come on, don't give me that look," Laura sighed, flopping down onto his bed and looking up at him where he was standing over her, arms crossed defiantly over his chest. "I've told you like a million times, you guys would totally love each other if you gave it a chance!"
"No, Laura, not happening, like, ever," Stiles emphasized. "One," he argued, punctuating this with a raised finger. "Your twin, whilst being ridiculously attractive, is kind of a dick. Seriously, it's like he decided to go invent protein shakes instead of getting his personality installed from whatever assembly line you perfect specimens come from."
At this, Laura rolled her eyes again. One day she was going to roll her eyes so hard they were going to fall out of her head and Stiles would not be mourning the loss for even a split-second (he tried to convince himself it wasn't because Derek's were prettier, but really, have you seen them? They were like sugar, spice and everything nice. Powerpuff Girls was a damn influential show, was all Stiles could say).
"I'm not joking though," he told her. "If there's a bigger asshole in this world than your brother, I've yet to meet him."
Laura's eyes widened and Stiles dropped his arms to his sides.
"What now?" he said, exasperated. Laura bit her lip, and actually, it looked like she was trying to hold back laug—
"Let's go Laur."
Stiles whipped around and nearly broke his nose on Derek's freaking perfect (dammit) chest, his eyes wide in horror.
"Derek!" he squeaked, trying for a weak smile. Derek raised an eyebrow. "Hi," Stiles finished lamely.
"Hi, Stiles," Derek replied dryly and Laura snorted. He turned his glare to Laura, who shrugged innocently, before she hopped up and off Stiles' bed.
"Smooth," she whispered with a wink, as if Derek wasn't just there, and threw her arms around Stiles' neck when he scowled at her. "I'll call you later," she told him before smacking a kiss onto his cheek and flouncing out of the room.
Derek turned around to follow her without a word and Stiles called out,
"Yeah, bye to you too, Derek."
Derek leveled a look over his shoulder and Stiles fought the urge to shrink back into himself.
"Being rude is part of the job description of an asshole," was all Derek said before he walked away, Stiles' door slamming shut behind him.
Stiles buried his face in his hands and resisted the urge to scream.
The angry sex he wasn't having with Derek would be so good.
Three weeks later, the shop was pretty much ready. Laura had found the perfect spot; a small, cozy, café-style place to rent with all the furniture and equipment mostly intact and usable. The only thing they desperately needed to change with the space was to switch some of the lights and install their espresso machine. Derek had made a few minor changes to the tables and chairs, as he was working on a degree in architecture, and Laura was content to let him do what he wanted, so long as he didn't paint everything black and hang stuffed bats from the ceiling, in honor of his broody persona. Stiles' words, according to Laura. He paid them no heed because no matter how gorgeous Stiles was, he was also a pretty shitty person himself, and Derek had standards, one of them being that he didn't date anyone who thought he was an asshole, perfect face or otherwise.
After Derek was done, the place turned out beautiful; all bright sunlight and airy. He'd taken advantage of the large windows to put in window seats, transforming them into private alcoves people could work in. The other two sides of the shop had large comfy couches, laden with more cushions than was probably necessary, but they came with the place, so Laura let it slide. The floor itself had wooden chairs and oak tables, small enough not to be cumbersome but not too small that they were practically useless. As most of the place was wood, the counter where they served customers was a lighter timber, polished and sanded, and the shelves at the back were filled with various ingredients, bags of coffee beans and jars of syrups and sugar, giving the shop a homey feel. The only place Derek hadn't touched was the back room they used for storage and their kitchen. Laura had deemed it workable, all clean, white tiles and stainless steel worktables.
When everything was finally ready, Laura called Stiles in to look over everything, much to Derek's chagrin. He didn't care that Stiles had an eye for detail, or whatever the fuck it was that Laura said. It wasn't as much fun fantasizing about Stiles' hands when he was reminded just how fucking annoying the little brat could be.
Speaking of, Derek had been stocking the shelves and the cupboards when he heard Stiles' voice even before the bell at the entryway tinkled as Stiles pushed the door open, Laura walking a few paces behind him.
"Laura, this is amazing," Stiles breathed out, and Derek felt himself let out a breath he hadn't even realized he was holding, which irritated him a little, because he didn't give a shit about whether Stiles liked his work or not. Oblivious to Derek's presence, Stiles kept talking, looking around the place with an awestruck expression, "It uses the space really well, like the positioning of the furniture makes the place look a lot bigger than it is, I can't, wow."
Laura was looking at Derek with a smirk on her face, looking absolutely pleased with herself. Derek scowled and, fucking of course, that's when Stiles decided to look up, catching him.
Stiles' smile slipped off his face and Derek was horrified when he realized he was upset that, not only Stiles had stopped smiling, but also because he was the reason Stiles had begun to frown.
"Derek," Stiles said and Derek nodded in acknowledgement before going back to what he had been doing.
"Derek's actually the one who's done all this," Laura told Stiles quietly and Derek clenched his jaw when he felt Stiles' eyes on him again, appraising. There was a pause, and Derek berated himself for getting his hopes up (for what, he had no clue), when—
"You did a really good job," Stiles said quietly, so softly that Derek thought he'd imagined it and his head snapped up to meet Stiles' gaze.
Stiles was looking at him earnestly, his wide amber eyes bright and Derek felt something warm settle in his stomach.
Stiles smiled tentatively at him and before he could help himself, Derek felt his mouth twitch. Stiles must've caught it, despite how small the movement had been, because his smile widened a fraction before he turned back to Laura, who was studying the two of them with a thoughtful look on her face.
She herded Stiles away past Derek and into the kitchen, where he could hear nothing but the slight murmur of their voices, which irked him a little. Rolling his eyes, he got back to work, barely noticing the time until someone tapped him on the shoulder and he flinched, biting back a yelp.
"Sorry, didn't mean to startle you," Stiles apologized, stepping back a few steps. He was holding a cup of something protectively to his chest and before Derek could ask, Stiles glanced down and made a noise of surprise, as if he'd forgotten about it, before pushing it towards Derek. "It's chocolate mousse, if you wanted."
He reached out, snagging the cup and nearly dropping it in shock when their fingers brushed together. "You bake?"
Stiles blushed. "Uh, yeah, a little?" he shrugged at Derek's questioning look. "I don't think it's anything special really, but Laura wants to sell muffins and cupcakes as well so she asked me to make some stuff for people to try before she makes it a regular thing," he paused when Derek took a spoonful, eyes lighting up when Derek made a pleased noise, because damn that shit was good. "You like it?"
Derek could only nod, because he was busy trying to shovel the rest of it in his mouth without looking like a complete barbarian.
"Thanks," Stiles beamed, and god, this was really not going well for Derek. "I mean, I've only started taking the class because I needed to take another elective to graduate and my mom used to bake…" Stiles trailed off and Derek swallowed, because he knew how tough it was for Stiles to talk about his mother.
"It's really good. Does that mean you're going to be bringing in pastries in the morning before we open?"
Stiles shook his head, letting out a small laugh. "I couldn't manage that, you've seen how small my kitchen is," Derek could attest to that, but again, this was New York and finding a good place with affordable rent was as likely as getting Miley Cyrus to stop wearing shorts designed to fit twelve year-olds. "I have to come at five every morning, before heading to class," Stiles continued and Derek's eyes widened.
"Laura said that?"
Stiles shrugged. "I mean, it's not really a big deal to me y'know? I haven't got much to do, I'm still looking for a job anywa—"
"Is she paying you?" Derek cut him off, wincing belatedly when he realized that was a bit rude.
Stiles shook his head and remained silent.
"I'll talk to her," Derek promised and coughed, because where the fuck did that come from?
Stiles didn't notice, however, his eyes studying Derek perceptively before a soft smile curled across his face.
Derek looked back down at the empty cup in his hands for a moment, suddenly shy before blurting out,
"Can I have some more?"
The sound of Stiles' laughter was going to stick in his head for weeks.
The uninspiringly named Hale's Coffee (dammit, Laura) had only been open for a few days before word of their pastries spread around the city and by ten o'clock, most of Stiles' treats had disappeared, which only led to Laura asking him to get up even earlier to make more, so he could meet the demands of the customers. Although she had decided to pay Stiles a fair amount, she refused to raise his pay because they didn't have the spare cash just yet. Stiles was happy enough, however, especially when Derek, who usually worked the morning shift, began coming in an hour before they opened instead of the usual fifteen minutes he gave himself to wipe the tables down and get the shop ready, so he could Stiles get a few batches done before they opened.
Usually Stiles was already halfway through the preparation when Derek arrived at the shop, but today, his Jeep was nowhere to be found and Derek had dialled him before he even got the keys to the shop out. The phone rang a few times before a groggy voice answered,
"Stiles," Derek breathed out, relieved.
"'Erek?" Stiles sounded half-asleep and paired with how confused his voice was, Derek couldn't deny the fact that Stiles sounded utterly adorable right now. It was right about this time Derek resigned himself for having a full-blown crush on the kid. He shuddered. It was like he was a teenager again.
"You okay? S'there somethin' wrong?" Stiles continued with a yawn, oblivious.
"No I just didn't see the Jeep and I got worried about you," Derek admitted. There was a beat of silence and Derek squeezed his eyes shut because he was such a freak. When Stiles didn't answer after a few more moments, Derek cleared his throat and asked cautiously, "Stiles?"
The only response he got was a loud snore.
Derek let out a long breath in relief before remembering Laura would be furious when she found out Stiles didn't get up in time.
Laura was amazing, he wasn't afraid to admit it, but sometimes, when she was worried, she tended to lash out at the people close to her and while Derek knew how to deal with her, Stiles usually took the bait, their arguments turning into furious screaming matches, until eventually they just ignored each other for weeks. Their fights were epic, and Derek could only be grateful that while their fights were awful, it only happened very rarely, if ever. But Derek knew shit would go down if Stiles wasn't able to make the pastries today, especially since he hadn't warned Laura.
Sighing because he honestly had no idea when he got to be so worried about Stiles, Derek hopped back into the Camaro and drove to Stiles' apartment, grabbing the spare key taped to the inside of the mailbox and letting himself in.
Stiles was asleep on the couch, head sandwiched between the armrest and the cushion. He was still dressed in his jeans and a t-shirt and Derek saw a pair of glasses haphazardly thrown onto the table next to the couch. Derek felt his mouth go dry, because he hadn't known Stiles wore glasses. And Derek just had this thing for glasses, okay? Derek shut his eyes and took a deep breath, before walking over and shaking Stiles awake.
Stiles mumbled something unintelligible before shifting around, settling back in with a happy noise. Derek ran a hand over his face. This really shouldn't be that difficult.
"Stiles, c'mon," Derek tried again, shaking him a little more forcefully. Stiles twitched, his eyes jerking open and flinching with his whole body when he saw Derek leaning over him.
He slid off the bed and would've hit the floor if Derek hadn't caught him at the last moment.
"Whu—Derek?" Stiles squeaked, squinting up at him as he flailed around a little, trying to get his balance back. "What're you doing here?" Derek set him down onto the couch and Stiles reached across him to grab his glasses, setting them on his nose and Derek bit back a groan. He really didn't deserve this. Stiles lookedgorgeous; his eyes blinking sleepily behind those black-rimmed frames, a sliver of skin visible between his shirt and his jeans, and his hair, Jesus Christ. This kid needed to come with a warning label.
"I didn't want Laura freaking out on you because you didn't call," Derek said, his eyes darting away from Stiles' long, slender fingers and fixing on the wall behind Stiles' head.
"Oh shit, I was supposed to be up hours ago," Stiles wailed, jumping up and nearly elbowing Derek's face in the process. "Thank you for coming to get me, oh my god."
"You don't need to come," Derek told him belatedly, realizing he could've just called Laura and explained the situation. God, Stiles just made him forget how to be a normal human being. "I'm sure she'll understand?"
It came out as more of a question and Derek flushed when Stiles looked up briefly to shoot him a smile.
"Nah, you went through all the trouble to get me," Stiles said dismissively, waving a hand as he straightened up. "I'm just going to pull some new clothes on, shower later. I know it's gross, but y'know."
"It's not," Derek said hastily. He felt like he was going to vibrate out of his body, his skin was starting to feel too small for him and he didn't know what was going on. "I mean, I do it all the time. It's normal," oh god, he'd started to babble. That was a Stiles thing, not a Derek thing.
Stiles was going to know something wasn't right, he was going to—
Walk straight past him and into his bedroom.
"You don't need to wait for me, if you don't want to," Stiles called out before disappearing around the corner. "I've got bagels and some stuff in the kitchen though, if you're hungry."
Derek shook his body out for a second, before heading to where he knew the kitchen was and poking through the cupboards. He'd only just toasted two of them when Stiles popped his head around, grinning when he saw Derek still there. He was still wearing his glasses and Derek just could not.
"I uh, here," Derek offered after an awkward moment of silence, handing out one of the pastries to Stiles and gesturing to the door. "I can make you coffee at the shop if you're still feeling a bit sleepy?"
Stiles shot him a grateful smile. "I don't drink coffee, but thanks."
Derek knew this, and he felt compelled to defend himself.
"I know, it's just, you're tired and maybe you wanted to make an exception. I'll make you a mochaccino if you want? It's like a cappuccino, but instead of using espresso, it uses mocha, which has chocolate in it, so it's not as strong tasting."
"I know what a mochaccino is, Derek," he sounded amused and Derek snapped his mouth shut, embarrassed. "But I'll try one, if you make it for me."
Derek smiled and Stiles stared at him for a moment before his own grin widened.
They got to the coffee shop together, Stiles deciding that taking the Jeep when Derek already had the Camaro was pointless, and he made appreciative noises when he slid into the seat, touching the leather interior with reverent hands.
"You're acting like you've never been in here before," Derek said, smirking. His brief moment of insanity seemed to have passed and he visibly relaxed, starting the car and pulling it into drive with a casual grip on the gearshift.
"I've only been here twice," Stiles said defensively, glaring at Derek without any real venom behind it. "Once while I was pretty much passed out drunk and the other time when I broke my arm and Laura was in Europe and you drove me to the hospital, I didn't really get to appreciate it as much."
Derek made a noncommittal noise and pulled into an empty space at the back of the shop.
"I'll help you get the stuff ready," he told Stiles, ducking in through the back door. "I'm sure the customers will survive if I don't wipe down the tables just this once."
"I'm remembering this in case Laura asks me why each table hasn't got precisely 13 napkins in the napkin holder," Stiles teased and Derek looked over his shoulder at him, his eyebrow raised.
"Then I'll just tell her why I came in late this morning," Derek shot back, hiding a grin when Stiles paled.
"You're mean," Stiles pouted and Derek snorted.
"You love it."
He was gratified when Stiles didn't deny it, and he couldn't contain his grin when he turned around to hand Stiles the beaters and found the tips of Stiles' ears were burning red.
By the time the shop opened, they hadn't managed to make as much batches as Stiles usually did, but he'd decided to stay for a few hours longer, telling Derek it was fine, because he was acing his World History class anyway.
The shop opened at six thirty every morning, and after the initial morning rush, there was usually a lull between eight and nine thirty and satisfied that every customer had been served, he peered around the kitchen door with a steaming cup of hazelnut and caramel mochaccino to find Stiles dozing next to a timer.
The timer dinged just as he walked in the door and Stiles yawned, rubbing at his eyes tiredly before getting up, gaze catching on Derek.
"Hey," he smiled sleepily. "I'm nearly done here, and the shop'll be all yours."
"Take your time," Derek offered the cup to him. "It's got a whole lot of hazelnut and caramel syrup in it, so it barely tastes like coffee."
"Thanks," Stiles reaching into the oven with a pair of light green mittens, the sweet smell of apple wafting out into the room. "This is done, it just needs to cool for a bit before we can put it out."
He slid the mittens off, pushing his glasses back up, accidentally rubbing his nose on his forearm before taking the cup of coffee, leaving a smear of flour on his ridiculously upturned nose. Derek choked and Stiles gave him a weird look before taking a sip of the drink.
His eyes widened. "Derek, this is really good."
The flour forgotten, Derek ducked his head. "It's just coffee."
"Yeah, yeah," Stiles teased and laughed when Derek scowled at him. "Thanks again."
"You've got um," Derek gestured vaguely to Stiles' face. Stiles wrinkled his nose.
"You mean my glasses? I just couldn't be bothered wearing lenses today, so yeah," Stiles shrugged. "No big deal."
"No I mean, flour," Derek shook his head, reaching over to brush the offending powder off Stiles' nose with his thumb. "There," he said quietly. "All gone."
Stiles was silent, watching him with a calculating expression and Derek held his breath, waiting.
"Excuse me, is anyone back there?"
Stiles jerked backwards and shit, Derek hadn't even realized that they'd moved closer to each other.
"I have to…" he trailed off, tilting his head back to the front of the shop and Stiles nodded with a cough, rubbing a hand awkwardly at the back of his head.
"Yeah, no, uh, I'll finish cleaning up here and being the pie out and I should be done for the day."
Derek straightened up. "Yeah, I can drop you off wherever you need to go if you can wait? My shift'll be finished in an hour."
"Yeah, okay, I'll just wait for you then," Stiles let out an nervous laugh. "Forgot I didn't have the Jeep with me."
Nodding again, Derek turned to leave, shooting Stiles a small smile before the door swung shut behind him.
"Laura," Stiles hissed into his phone once he was settled in one of the window seats, where he had the perfect view of Dere—the counter where they sold coffee. "I think your brother knows I wanna see him naked."
Laura made a gagging noise and Stiles rolled his eyes. She could dish it out but it looked like she couldn't take it when other people gave her a taste of her own medicine.
"I'm serious, Laur. I think he knows."
"Well good," Laura said, the shrug evident in her voice and Stiles gaped at the phone in his hand before putting it back to his ear to catch the last of her sentence, "—man up and do something about it!"
Stiles' eyes widened. "Say what now?"
"I said," Laura repeated in exasperation, though there was a hint of amusement lacing its way through her voice. "Maybe now he'll man up and do something about his ridiculous crush on you."
Stiles dropped the phone as if it had grown legs and it clattered to the ground, skittering across the polished wooden floor and stopping next to one of the couches. Derek had glanced up at the noise and Stiles smiled weakly, waving, mentally wincing because only a five year-old still waved at people. Derek didn't seem to care, however, his mouth curling up at the corners and wow, that was a really attractive look on Derek, actually. Stiles would have to ask Laura—
Who was still on the phone.
Stiles jumped out of his seat, racing over to his fallen phone and starting to babble,
"Sorry dropped my phone, I mean, I was shocked right, because there's no way in hell what you just said was true, because have you seen your brother?" Stiles was trying so hard to keep his talking in a low whisper, but he couldn't hide the slight tinge of hysteria that had crept into his voice as he made his way back to his seat. "Like, he could have anyone he wants, well, okay, not anyone. Because his personality still leaves something to be desired but he's nearly perfect in the looks department, if you hadn't noticed and also he's actually really funny when he wants to be and really nice and—" Stiles was cut off as he walked into a warm, vaguely familiar body and he looked up into Laura's shit-eating grin, his apology dying in his throat.
"Stiles," she greeted him and he groaned, ending the call and flopping back down onto his seat, taking a sip of his surprisingly delicious mocha-whatever-the-fuck-it-was Derek made for him, belatedly remembering Laura. He spluttered, choking on the drink, pushing it away from him as she slid into the seat next to him.
"S'not mine," he croaked, scowling at her when she raised her eyebrows.
"That's cute," Laura cooed, reaching over to take a sip. "He got you to drink coffee."
"Barely coffee," Stiles mumbled, crossing his arms over his chest and pouting.
"Still," Laura laughed and Stiles smacked her on the shoulder. She was still laughing when Derek walked over to them, a frown on his face.
"Laura, get up, I need to take Stiles home."
At this, Laura turned to Stiles and winked, before mouthing,
Stiles flushed, before sliding off his seat and flipping her off, dusting his clothes and looking over at Derek, who seemed to be locked in an angry mental conversation with Laura.
"You ready to go?" Stiles asked quietly, nudging Derek's shoulder with his own. Derek nodded and tilted his head back to the counter.
"I need to grab my stuff but the car's parked out back anyway."
Stiles nodded and narrowed his eyes at Laura, miming slitting her throat if she said anything. Laura just rolled her eyes and waved him away dismissively.
The walk back to the car was silent, not awkward, but not comfortable either and when they both settled in the Camaro, Derek asked quietly,
"What did Laura say?"
Stiles paused, thinking about it and before he could say a word, his stomach grumbled, reminding him that he hadn't had much for breakfast and it was nearly 1 o'clock.
"We could grab lunch first and I could drop you off at home afterwards?" Derek offered and Stiles squeezed his eyes shut, cursed wherever his apparent newfound daredevil passion came from (dammit, Laura) and blurted,
"Like on a date?"
There was no answer and Stiles opened one eye to see Derek watching him with a soft expression on his face.
Stiles beamed right back at him.