It’s not the greatest job in the world, but someone’s gotta do it.
And Stiles makes the most of it, okay?
Writing captions for the live broadcasts as well as helping run and write the copy for the online news stories can get rather tedious and boring, but Stiles tries his best to keep himself entertained. Slipping in a movie or comic book reference inside a human interest story just to see if someone comments about it, putting up a funny headline to see if someone catches it and puts it up on reddit or Buzzfeed, you know harmless things that to the casual viewer and reader will go unnoticed but to those that actually pay attention, they might get a kick out of it.
Recently though, he maybe has been… abusing his power.
See, there’s this new reporter the station has hired who is basically sex on legs in Stiles’s opinion, and sometimes when Stiles has to put up the captions during his news story he gets distracted. I mean, how could he not, when the guy has stubble that Stiles wants rubbed all over him and cheekbones and a jawline that Stiles wants to lick.
He can’t help it, okay? Derek Hale is hot and has a voice that Stiles wants to hear say dirty things to him in his ear while they are naked in bed together. And he would totally tell Derek this (no he wouldn’t) except for that when the cameras turn off, Derek is the least friendly guy ever. You know how they say people have different personalities when they are on screen than off? That’s Derek.
Derek can report on puppies at the local SPCA adoption event and melt everyone’s hearts with his smiles and his warmth as he holds and lets the fluffy dog lick his face. But back at the studio, he doesn’t even smile when someone says hi to him (Stiles knows cause he was the one that said hi and Derek just glared at him). It’s weird, and because Stiles is weird, he finds it all the more intriguing.
Not that he goes about confronting Derek about it though. Oh no, he keeps to himself, stays in the background at their staff meetings, and on the rare occasion he and Derek have been in the break room at the same time, he just grunts in acknowledgement and turns and flees. He’s happy gazing longingly at his face on his screen while pretending Derek doesn’t know he actually exists.
It’s safer that way, Stiles thinks. He’s not harming anyone by pointing out in a caption that Derek Hale’s hair is looking perfectly coifed that day, or that his eyes are especially blue by the lake behind him, or that his teeth are cute and adorable. It’s not like Derek will ever find out about those captions anyway because Stiles knows for a fact that Derek never looks or watches his own stories. So the only people that know are people that do watch it. But Erica, their producer, loves Stiles too much to fire him over it (plus she called him into her office to question him about it, and she thought it was so hilarious and sappy that she told him to keep it up and maybe Derek would get the hint that Stiles wants to have his metaphorical babies).
Which is why Stiles continues his short 30 to 40 character love letters set in captions to Derek while he reports on a local traffic accident or the protest against raising taxes at city hall. Unrequited works for him, and no one else can argue about the validity of his captions anyway.
Derek’s jaw really is cut like marble. It’s a scientific fact.
It’s been a few months at this new station, but Derek likes it okay. Erica, his producer, seems to like him enough, which is always refreshing since the producer at his last station was a psycho, it’s one of the reasons why he quit and moved to Beacon Hills to find a job. He’ll admit, it takes him a while to warm up to people, but his coworkers haven’t started sneering at him, so that’s gotta count as a win.
He has one coworker in particular that he just can’t seem to act normal around, and it’s starting to stress him out to the point where just tries to avoid the guy. It’s mainly because Derek finds him incredibly attractive, and that never works out well for Derek. Last time he decided to follow-through with his feelings for a coworker, it ended incredibly badly and made the whole rest of his time there so awkward (the other reason why he quit and moved).
He knows his name is Stiles, but he’s not entirely sure what he does, thinks it has something to do with their online website and headlines and closed captioning? No, that’s not it. Derek doesn’t remember because he was too busy staring at Stiles’s lips when Erica had introduced him. He didn’t even catch Stiles saying hi because his eyes were so round and large, and Derek was hating himself for getting distracted by them.
It wasn’t a good first impression, and now when they do run into each other Stiles just grunts and walks away, and Derek thinks it’s probably better that way. He knows he’d embarrass himself if he tried to hold a conversation with Stiles because what the hell would he say? “Your lips would be perfect against mine?” “I could get lost in your eyes?” “How can your nose look so damn cute?” No. Derek can’t say any of those things, but he knows that’s what would spew out if he were to try to talk to Stiles, so he nods when Stiles grunts and leaves.
He is fine with catching glimpses of Stiles during staff meetings and in the break room when he can. It’s probably better for everyone if things just stay that way. Pining works for him. No one but Isaac, his cameraman, knows about his crush on Stiles, and he’d very much like to keep it that way.
“Derek, we’re going to need you to follow up on that story you did last month on the city hall protests,” Erica tells him as soon as he walks into the studio.
“Uh, alright, is the bill up again?” Derek asks, setting his bag down to pull out his iPad.
Erica nods, “Yeah, but I don’t think another protest has been organized. I think city hall’s been trying to keep everything hush-hush. I only heard about it because a buddy of mine is the assistant to one of the councilman.”
“Do you want there to be another protest?”
Erica grins, wide and scary, if Derek’s honest. “I think there should be. I don’t want my taxes going up to pay for the mayor’s new house, do you?”
“I don’t think that’s what the tax money—“
“Don’t care, Derek,” she says in a singsong voice. “Go back and look at the tape at what the protesters were saying, see if you can find them again, bring it up. The bills up for discussion next Thursday, so you have till next Wednesday to give me a completed story to air.”
She turns to walk back into her office, and Derek stops her, “Wait, do you remember what day that story aired?” Erica turns and narrows her eyes at him; he immediately back-pedals. “No, it’s fine. I’ll find it. No problem. I’ll have it ready by Wednesday.” Erica’s smile returns, and she whips her hair behind her shoulder and saunters off back to her office.
Great. Now he has to go and review tape for his old stories, something he hates doing because he hates watching himself on screen. He could probably ask someone else when the story aired, but he’d rather just suffer. He vaguely remembers when it was and thinks he can figure out which day once he’s looking at it.
He goes to Greenberg, the keeper and editor of their footage, and asks to pull up the files for the week he thinks the story aired. Greenberg obliges and then tells him as long as he doesn’t delete anything or mess with his organization (what organization? Derek thinks) that he’s free to use his office for the next hour because he’s going to lunch. He leaves Derek with some basic instructions on how to move from video to video and then disappears.
Derek sighs and then gets down to it, the faster he can find the old story, the sooner he can start on the new one. He fast-forwards through the first video until he sees his face and listens long enough to determine whether or not it’s the story he’s looking for. It’s not, so he fast-forwards it again to be sure he didn’t have another story that night. He does the same for the second video, pushing play when he sees his face, waits till he gets the gist of the story and determines it’s not what he’s looking for and moves on.
It’s not till he gets to the third day’s footage that he notices the caption beneath his name. Under where it says “Derek Hale,” it says “His eyes are like rare gems” instead of what he is pretty sure is supposed to say “Channel 6 News.” He pauses it and stares at the caption, and yes that is totally what it says, and now he’s starting to wonder what all the other ones have said.
He starts back at the first video he had watched, goes to his story, and then pauses on the caption. This one says “Even in the wind his hair is perfect.” Derek is flattered and a little embarrassed since he knows their news is broadcast to at least the 80,000 plus people of Beacon Hills and the surrounding cities. Do all of his stories have these captions? What do the rest of them say?
When Greenberg gets back to his lunch, Derek has reviewed an entire month’s worth of his stories just to see the captions, some range from hilarious, to downright romantic, and he has to know who’s in charge of writing them because he kind of wants to take them out for coffee.
“Did ya find what you needed?” Greenberg asks Derek once Derek’s stood to give him his desk back.
“Uh yeah… Hey, do you know who writes the captions?”
Greenberg smirks. “Stiles. Man, he’s got some funny ones, doesn’t he? Last week he had one about—“
Derek nods and cuts him off, “Right. Thanks, Greenberg!” He leaves before he can hear Greenberg’s muttered words of annoyance.
He goes back to his desk to think over this new information. He had found the story he needed already, but he had time to come up with something for Erica. But the information about Stiles? He kind of didn’t know what to do. He did want to take him out for coffee, has always wanted to ask Stiles out, but he had always thought Stiles didn’t like him? Obviously that wasn’t the case if his captions on Derek’s stories were anything to go by. Some of the compliments Stiles gave him in the captions made him blush; he never thought anyone noticed his dimples under his stubble, or appreciated his stubble for that matter.
After some consideration, he decides that he needs to confront Stiles. Derek needs to know if he really did think all those things about him or if he was saying those things to get a laugh. He had seen some of the captions on other stories and some of them seemed like a joke. He looks up where Stiles’s cubicle is on their intranet site and makes the trek over, all the while hoping and praying that Stiles really meant all those things. Cause if he did, Derek is definitely asking him out for coffee, drinks, and to come home with him afterwards.
When Stiles looks up to see Derek coming towards him, he lets out an involuntary “eep.” The dude looks like he is on a mission, and although he doesn’t look particularly angry, Stiles is freaking out internally anyway. Maybe someone told Derek about his captions? Maybe he’s thoroughly pissed off at Stiles for embarrassing him in front of thousands of viewers, and he is so going to get fired after he’s yelled at by Derek. Shit. This is so bad.
He tries to get back to work, acting nonchalant like he doesn’t know that Derek is gunning for him, but his gasp of surprise when Derek knocks on his cubicle wall is genuine.
“Uh? Yes? Hi? What’s up?” Oh geez, this is so terrible. Someone kill him now to save him from himself and from getting reamed out by Derek.
“Hi. I’m Derek. Hale. Derek Hale. I am one of the reporters,” Derek says, and he sounds almost as nervous and freaked out as Stiles, which should not be the case. Derek should be yelling and screaming and questioning him by now, right?
“Yeah, hi. I know who you are.” Stiles! No need to be rude to the guy. Get it together. “I mean you know because we met. Once. When you first got hired. Erica introduced you…”
“Oh, right.” Derek looks down, like he’s shy or embarrassed, and this is the weirdest start to a berating he’s ever experienced. Unless Derek isn’t there for that…
“I’m Stiles. Stilinski.”
“Hi,” Stiles almost wants to laugh because Derek is acting so weird right now and he doesn’t know what to do. “Uh, is there something I can help you with?”
Derek shakes his head a bit and then nods. “Yes, sorry. I had a question. Are you the one that writes the captions on the broadcast?”
Oh he knew it. Derek is here about the captions. “I am. Look, about those… I get a little carried away sometimes, and get bored and—“
“Did you mean them?”
“The captions. What you said about me in them… did you mean them?”
Stiles’s mouth is agape because that was not what he was expecting Derek to ask. But he can’t tell the guy they were a joke because how mean would that be not to mention wholly untrue?
Slowly he nods. “Yeah. I did. They’re all true. I’m sorry if I embarrassed you. I’ll stop. I just never thought you’d see them or hear about them, and it was dumb I know… but I was too afraid to actually tell you in person.” He looks down at his hands in his lap. Out of his peripheral vision he can see Derek approach him and then kneel in front of him, bending his head to catch Stiles’s eye.
“I liked them. I… wish I had known about them sooner, actually.”
“Oh?” Stiles asks, meeting Derek’s eyes.
“You haven’t been the only one afraid.”
“You too?” he asks, and Derek nods, glancing down at the floor. Stiles starts to laugh, and Derek looks up, confused, before he starts laughing with Stiles too. “We are idiots,” Stiles says after their bout of laughter dies down.
Derek bobs his head in agreement. “Not anymore. Stiles, would you like to get dinner with me after the broadcast tonight?”
The way Derek is kneeling in front of him, it almost looks like a marriage proposal, which is getting so far ahead of himself that Stiles has to take a few seconds to come back.
He smiles at Derek, who returns it, and he was so right when he wrote that one caption about it being made of rainbows because it is a fact. “I would love to,” he finally answers.
Derek’s smile gets even brighter, if that’s even possible, and Stiles kind of melts. Derek stands and tells Stiles he’ll let him get back to work and that he’ll see him later. Then he waves, waves like he’s in a Miss America pageant, and walks away, leaving Stiles happy and elated.
And after that display, Stiles knows exactly what to put on tonight’s caption.