So I was casually browsing through the aisles in the supermarket and I stumbled upon this. Hot Damn. I think my ovaries just exploded. #Dylan O’Brien
STAAAHHHPP. PS: Derek has this picture hung up on the inside of his locker.
Living for the image of shy awkward Derek opening his locker before noticing that Stiles is coming down the hall so he tries to close the door super fast so he won’t see the picture but he can’t because all his books start falling out on the ground like an avalanche and his sticky-out ears turn bright red.
Stiles is really cool and nice and and smart and always says hi to everyone even if he doesn’t really know who they are. Derek only has the picture in the first place because Mrs. Leary asked him to help out after school with some of the dark room stuff for yearbook, and there was an extra picture of Stiles, so he just—took it. He stuck it in his locker, meaning to take it home, but then he kept seeing it, between classes, Stiles’ calm eyes and faint smile and it was just—
it was stupid, because he hadn’t really thought about what would happen if Stiles saw it, how creepy and stupid he’d look. He hadn’t really thought Stiles would ever notice him at all; not many people did.
The worst part is that Stiles doesn’t even—say anything about it, not really, he just smiles the exact same smile as he’s got in the picture, warm, too kind, the smile that makes Derek feel a little embarrassed and a lot weird, like the keen edge of his own loneliness is set against his throat.
“Uh,” says Derek, clutching at Catcher in the Rye and his history textbook in front of him while everything else in his locker continues to land heavily on his feet, including, he notices, wincing, his two favorite Civil War issues, three and seven. He wishes they weren’t so obviously dogeared. He wishes he didn’t keep pristine copies at home in one of the labeled shoeboxes under his bed.
“Cool,” says Stiles, leaning down and picking up a couple of the other notebooks, A People’s History of the United States which Derek has to use for a paper, his biology textbook, the comic books on top. Derek shoves the books in his arms back into the locker so his hands are free to awkwardly collect them all from Stiles. Their fingers brush. Derek wants to die. ”I’ve always been more of a D.C. fan myself, but even I cried when Cap died,” Stiles admits, quirking a grin at Derek, intimate, friendly, before heading on down the hallway.
“Uh,” Derek says to the inside of his locker, resting his forehead on the cool metal of the door before realizing he’s basically got his face pressed to Stiles’s photographed lips. He stuffs everything inside and bangs the thing shut, accidentally butterflying his own lock in his haste to get the fuck out of Dodge before he does something even more embarrassing like, like, like punch a wall, or wolf out in front of the whole school, or weep about his feelings to Laura.
(I hope this isn’t against tumblr etiquette. I’m sorry if it is! I don’t really understand the internet post-2004.)
NOT AGAINST TUMBLR ETIQUETTE, TELL ME WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!! Let me consult my mental rolodex of teen movies, hmm, probably Stiles somehow invites him to some big house party and Derek thinks maybe it’s a date, which is IS NOT because Stiles is there with a million of his friends and probably a really pretty girl hanging all over him and Derek feels like the biggest loser in the entire universe.
Then Derek can be the subject of some cruel teasing and feels miserable and confused and knows he doesn’t belong at this party and Stiles probably hates him, so he leaves and
“Hey,” Stiles says. He’s jogging down the driveway after Derek, a little out of breath. “Where are you going?”
“Home,” Derek says.
“Oh,” Stiles says, slowing. “That’s—you got a curfew, or—”
“Yeah,” Derek lies, and Stiles nods.
“Okay,” he says. “Another time.”
“Yeah, can’t wait,” Derek mutters. He turns and starts down the driveway again, swallowing the lump in his throat.
“I thought—why did you even come?” Stiles says, behind him, sounding lost, angry. “If you didn’t want to—”
“Why did you ask me?” Derek says, wheeling. “Just so your idiot friends could have some entertainment? Sorry I—it was just a picture,” he says. “I wouldn’t have bothered you, I—”
“Um,” Stiles says carefully. “I just thought you were on yearbook.”
“Yearbook’s for nerds,” Derek says, staring down at the asphalt so he doesn’t have to look at Stiles’ face.
“Do you want—can I give you a ride home?” Stiles says. “Please?”
(Except it needs approximately 9442505 words I’m not going to write where Stiles is incredibly cute and cool and amazing and unattainable and Derek plays the tuba in the school band.)
“I guess,” says Derek grudgingly, because—what else is he going to say? He ran to Lydia’s house, hopped up on nerves and excitement and also because Laura had totally betrayed him and gone on a bowling date instead of letting him use their mom’s old car. Who even bowls, Derek would like to know, but Laura says it’s fun when you’re old enough to drink. Derek doubts that fun actually exists in the universe anymore: it has all been sucked into this black hole of a night and will soon explode in some kind of fun-sucking supernova in denial of all known physical laws of the universe but in agreement with every single law of Derek’s life.
He gets into Stiles’s ugly Jeep and buckles in without thinking about it, flushing when he realizes how twelve-years-old he probably looks. Stiles doesn’t seem to care, at least, just starts the car and backs out of the driveway, briefly trailing onto the lawn to maneuver around someone’s silver Porsche.
If there is anywhere that he doesn’t belong, Derek thinks sourly, it’s at a party where someone’s got a Porsche. Jesus. What was he thinking?
The silence in the car isn’t as welcome a respite as Derek was hoping. Stiles doesn’t seem capable of being still, his fingers tapping on the steering wheel, flicking his high beams on and off, glancing over at Derek every thirty seconds. Derek’s chest feels congested and all he can think is how Stiles must see him––his stupid ears and his dumb laugh and Stiles probably told Jackson all about his comic books just so he could watch Derek’s face go stricken and flushed with humiliation. He probably offered him a ride home just so he could watch the horrible aftermath.
Well, Derek’s not going to give him any satisfaction. He looks straight out the windshield.
“Look, Derek,” Stiles starts, and then shrieks, “holy shit,” because there’s a deer in front of them, frozen in the Jeep’s headlights. Stiles slams on the brakes and Derek, before he even knows what he’s doing, throws a hand in front of Stiles’s body like he’ll be able to do anything at all to make him, this, better.
(You should totally write them! Or, um. Don’t? But I personally would read the shit out of that. And then tenderly make it breakfast in the morning.)
At the last second Stiles’ wits return to him, because they are never long gone, and he lets off the brake, swerves just enough. It’s not enough to miss- the corner of the Jeep clips the deer in the hindquarters, just enough to send it rolling onto the ground and leave a nasty indentation in the wheel well. It leaves behind a stripe of fur, wedged into the rim of the tire where Stiles will find it much later, but as Stiles brings the car to a dead stop he can see the deer bounding off into the darkness. When he shuts the car off for good measure, it’s quiet enough he can almost hear both their heart beats and his head is spinning from the adrenaline.
“Are you ok?” is out of his mouth before he even looks down, feels the weight of Derek’s hand, splayed over his chest. He swallows, eyes tracing along the line of Derek’s arm until their eyes meet. Derek’s are wide and bright, bright blue.
Then he blinks, and Stiles thinks it must have been a trick of the light, because now they are the same pale mash of blue and hazel as they always were and he wonders when he ever noticed how split the teen’s irises were.
Derek snatches his hand away like Stiles is on fire and stammers: “I-I’m fine. You?”
“Aside from feeling like I just had a heart attack?” Stiles answers. “Yeah, I’m fine…” He doesn’t sound fine and he’s staring out the window at where his Jeep hit.
“But your car,” Derek concludes.
Stiles smooths a hand over the top of his head, trying to stay calm. “Yeah. But it’s more important that we’re ok,” he says resolutely, realizing only after the words are out of his mouth how much he sounds like his father.
“I’m sorry,” Derek blurts, and Stiles turns to stare at him like maybe he really is silly enough to think the deer was his fault. “For distracting you.”
Stiles huffs a laugh that sounds a lot like relief. “You weren’t,” Stiles assures him. “I mean, you were, but it- it’s not your fault.”
Derek’s thick brows furrow in confusion, because that really makes no sense at all, and then he looks away, back out the front window. He can still feel the fabric of Stiles’ shirt under his fingertips. He thinks I shouldn’t have come because Stiles is staring at him, and there’s a frown marring his features that says Derek has for sure done something wrong. He promises he’ll save himself the embarrassment of telling Laura any of this later.
“Look, Derek,” Stiles says, in the same tone as only moments ago. “I’m sorry about Jackson. He can be kind of a dick.” At the no shit, really? look Derek gives him, Stiles winces. “Ok, he can be a really big dick. But I didn’t invite you there for him. I didn’t invite you there for any of them.”
Derek can hear Stiles’ heart beat, steady, unwavering, and he knows it’s true which doesn’t make it any better because what is he supposed to do with that? How was he supposed to handle the worried, apologetic smile Stiles is giving him like it is no big deal looking that endearing. He feels like someone is stacking cinder blocks on his chest and he wants out of the car and there is no way Stiles is saying what he thinks Stiles is saying.
When Derek continues sitting in silence, Stiles takes a deep, calming breath, and turns the ignition. With both hands on the wheel, those liquid, golden-brown eyes fixed on the road ahead of them, he says: “I invited you for me. I just wanted to see you, and I’m sorry about the rest.”
(OH HELLO THERE. Round robin fic! I hope you don’t mind if I continue!)
“Oh,” says Derek, “—oh.”
“Yeah,” says Stiles, and breathes out.
“Well, that was pretty nice of you, then,” Derek says uncertainly. “I guess.”
“I guess,” Stiles says. He sounds like—Derek doesn’t know what he sounds like. “Where do you live again?”
“I could walk from here,” Derek offers just in case that’s what Stiles is getting at.
“No, I—no,” Stiles says, “what if a deer jumps out at you or something? That shit is terrifying, you know. You could get really hurt.”
Derek looks at him. He can feel his eyebrows raise of their own accord. “While walking?” he asks.
“You walk really fast, who knows what terrible havoc that kind of collision could wreak,” says Stiles, and then, while Derek is still processing that apparently Stiles has seen him walk, has paid attention to the fact that Derek walks, starts the car so Derek has no choice but to settle back into his seat.
“If you take the second left up here, you can take a shortcut through the woods,” Derek says.
“Okay,” Stiles says, and turns left onto Magnolia Drive, the long, meandering road through the Beacon Hills woods, the only paved one in the entire forested stretch. “Don’t you live back around here somewhere?”
“Yeah,” says Derek. “I’ll show you, you can drop me off at the corner and I’ll walk the rest of the way.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Stiles snaps. “I’m not going to make you walk alone in the weird creepy woods to your weird creepy house in the middle of the night all by yourself.”
“It’s ten o’clock. And my house isn’t creepy,” Derek protests mildly. “How do you even know what my house looks like, anyway?”
“I don’t,” Stiles says.
They spend the next twenty minutes in a swiftly-congealing silence, Stiles fiddling the radio knob through eight different stations until he settles on some kind of bluesy guitar, forlorn. The woman’s voice sounds like leather and whiskey and sorrow.
“My mom really liked her,” Stiles says quietly. “I think she had every CD she could get her hands on. We used to play them from start to finish when I was younger.” When she was sick, he doesn’t say, but Beacon Hills is a small town, so of course Derek knows about it.
“Oh,” says Derek. He doesn’t know what else to say. He’s never lost anybody, not really. He clears his throat. “You can take the next right up here.”
“Sure,” he says, easy, nodding, and pulls up to Derek’s house.
Derek sits awkwardly in the passenger seat for another thirty seconds, debating what to say. “Thanks,” he decides on, finally. “For the ride. And everything.”
“Yeah,” Stiles says. “No problem. I’ll see you at school.”
“Sure,” Derek agrees, and hesitates as he’s closing the door.
“What’s up?” Stiles says, not looking at Derek.
Derek shrugs. “I cried when Cap died, too,” he mumbles, slams the car door shut and runs into the house, past his uncle in the kitchen and his sisters in front of the TV and straight into his bedroom, where he locks the door and throws himself down on his ugly plaid comforter, his flushed face in his hands.
(WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?)
Stiles stares at the jacket laying in the foot well on the passenger side of his Jeep. It’s black and leather and it looks very, very soft, like it’s been worn constantly for years, or maybe had been passed down. He should have told Derek before he closed the door, but there is a part of him that wants an excuse to talk to Derek again. OK he doesn’t need and excuse maybe, but it is nice to have.
Instead, he turns the wheel and drives home with the radio off so that he can hear the thoughts rattling around in his skull. Few of them are nice at all. Most of them are about Derek, about how Stiles could have been less clumsy, less terrified of saying the wrong thing and ensuring the other boy would keep his distance.
When he gets home, he takes the jacket in with him. If he wears it to bed the rest of the weekend, well, no one has to know. If he spends a few hours practicing lines to the mirror, well, only his reflection knows.
When Monday rolls around, which it inevitably does with far less shame than Stiles thinks is appropriate, he dons a blue hoodie under a sharp blue jacket and folds Derek’s jacket into a perfect bundle. He doesn’t think about how it was his mother who taught him to fold clothes, but he does smile to think of how terrible his father is at folding, at how he’s done all the laundry in the house for the past 6 years, and that maybe Derek will notice how well cared for his jacket is.
Before he leaves for school, he presses his nose to the bundle, but the jacket has lost Derek’s musky, teenage-boy scent. Stiles tries not to feel like a creeper and reminds himself that if Derek can have a picture of him hung in his locker, Stiles can definitely be allowed this.
When he finds Derek in the hall, the locker door is open and Derek doesn’t see him until it closes. He startles when he sees it is Stiles, but he tentatively returns the smile he is given. Then Stiles holds out the jacket, looking him straight in the eyes.
“You left it in my Jeep,” Stiles explains, but he doesn’t explain the way the blood rushing to his face flushes his jawline pink when he says it. So much for practicing with his reflection; his reflection doesn’t send electricity bouncing around his chest, doesn’t spike his blood the same as the boy before him.
Derek looks down at the bundle, perfectly folded. “Thanks,” he says somewhat awkwardly. The jacket reeks of Stiles and it is doing funny things to his belly, fluttering his heart against his ribcage. “I thought I left it at the party.”
“Nope,” Stiles says. “It was in my Jeep. In there the whole weekend. Never left.”
Derek can’t help the way his brows furrow, because Stiles’ heartbeat stutters over the words, the irregularity of a bold lie. The jacket is not forthcoming with the answers even though he glares at it in confusion. It just sits warm in his hands, smelling like Stiles - a lot like Stiles - and it isn’t because it had been sleeping over in his Jeep. That really only leaves one possibility, and there is no way Stiles meant that.
(I typed this all while wearing glued-on werewolf claws. NEVER AGAIN)