“What’s up, guys, I'm back with another video!" Stiles' arms flail towards the camera in a complicated series of gestures.
After the grand opening (Stiles likes to think it's grand, so shut up, it's his channel, he is the boss, the levels of grandness are determined by him--), he leans back in his hi-tech ergonomic swivel chair, courtesy of his astronomic paycheck he got from YouTube last month, and rocks a little in it. Stiles' spine is grateful. His butt, too, but mostly his spine.
"This one's going to be a little different from what I've been doing here before. Nothing movie related, and it's a highly, highly requested q&a.“ Stiles is only half sarcastic about it -- most YouTubers who care about their you-tubing rep look down on q&a videos with disdain. But, Stiles likes to think he's not that snobbish.
He scratches his chin and cracks a smile. “To be honest, I'm a little embarrassed to be doing this, you know that I don't normally do this kind of thing, but I just thought it'd be a cool way for you guys to get to know me a little better. So, if I mess up, which I inevitably will, please, don't be mad.“
He squirms in his chair and reaches out to touch the camera. “I feel like I'm out of focus. Am I out of focus?“ he murmurs into his chin and keeps jabbing the buttons. “No. All right. We're good to go. I'll read the questions which you sent me on my Twitter and Instagram, but they should also pop up right here so you'll be able to see them,“ he twirls his finger somewhere to the left of his head, “and then I'll answer them."
He clears his throat. "The first question is from @StilesforMiles,“ he grins and looks at the camera. “Cool name. Right, so the question is: 'Are you and Scott still best friends?' The answer is, yes, we are, and that is never, ever going to change. Scott's my bro, and no matter what you little rugrats read on social media, it's probably not true. We're tight, and if you guys behave, we're probably going to do another collab, either here on my channel, or on Scott's channel. Subscribe to Scott McCall and hit that notification button while you're there,“ Stiles bats his eyelashes and flashes another cute smile.
“Question numero dos, from @Alliecopter, 'Do you still open cans with a knife? I'll send you a can opener if so.' Yes, I do. I'm a highly dysfunctional human being."
"From @Stilinskiisdaboss, 'What's your shoe size?' Nine."
"From @MovieKiddRocks, 'Tell us about your tattoos.' Well, there's not much to tell. I have seven of them, two on my arms, one is Rosebud from Citizen Kane, the other is the Ferris Wheel from the Third Man, then the two on my wrists, those are the initials of my parents' names, and the one at the back of my neck, it's the White Tree of Gondor, you can see all of them.“ Stiles turns in his chair and pulls down his shirt to reveal the tattoo. “What can I say, I'm a movie kid at heart. And the two which you can't see, I won't tell you about,“ he winks. “They're private. I'll just say where they are: one is right above my hip and the other one is above my heart.“
“The next question is from @SmilesforStiles: 'Do you have a girlfriend? Are you gay?' Well, SmilesforStiles, first of all, those are two questions, and completely contradictory, by the way. But, thanks for asking," Stiles grins benevolently.
For some reason, half of YouTube and their grandmothers seem to think he is gay. Stiles has stopped banging his head about why that is a while ago. He must give off gay vibes or something -- although Stiles wouldn't know what they are. He's accepted it now and decided that it'd be extremely uncool to protest too much, so he just repeats the same words again. "For a millionth time, no, I am not gay, and I wish someone explained to me why everybody seems to think that I am. I just don't get it. But, that being said, I am a big supporter of LGBTQ+ community and a fighter for equality. Wave that rainbow flag. And, no, I don't have a girlfriend, unfortunately. My love life is sadly lacking, thanks for pointing that out. If it were any drier, it'd be the Sahara desert. It's pathetic."
"From @bruhchillouttt, 'Favorite song?' Currently, I'm obsessed with 'Promises' by Sam Smith. What a banger!“ Stiles says and plays the song for a while, dancing and twirling in his chair, trying to copy Sam's crazy voice.
After another set of highly personal questions which make him squirm and occasionally blush like a medieval maiden, Stiles decides that he is done. “So, that would be it, guys. Thanks for all the questions. I am beyond grateful that I'm able to do this, share my life with you, and it's all thanks to you. We're only 10 K away from 500.000 subscribers, that's half a million, guys, half a million,“ Stiles flails his arms around his head and mimics an explosion, leaning back into his chair. “Wow. Unbelievable. I love you, and see you on my next video. Stay positive.“
Stiles turns the camera off and takes a good chug from the water bottle standing on his desk.
His mouth always gets parched with all the talking; he usually goes through three bottles during the filming.
His phone rings and Scott's face grins at him from the screen. Stiles smiles and presses the green button.
“Are we still on for tonight?“ Scott asks.
Yeah. Like Stiles could even think about not being on for tonight. When the boss summons, you go. If you had an accident, and a shark bit off all your limbs and a swarm of rabid piranhas ate your tongue, you would still somehow have to find a way to go, because what Kate, aka the head bitch in charge, could do to you was way worse than that, Stiles felt.
Stiles was sure of it.
He lets out a long-suffering sigh. “Just... don't let me do anything stupid, man. Like, wring her neck, or gouge out her eyes.“
Scott chortles. “Hey, dude. Don't be like that. She's not that bad.“
Stiles closes his eyes in frustration. “Scott, Scotty, my man... She is the bane of my existence. She is the Moriarty to my Sherlock. She is the Voldemort to my Harry. She is--“
“I know, I know—“
“We've had this discussion many, many times before, buddy. She's a bitch who wants to cut off my balls and eat them. She won't let me do my movie skits! She made me do a stupid chapstick challenge video with Jackson. Jackson, dude. I'm still trying to recover from that, by the way, thanks for asking. Not. Claims no one cares about movies anymore,“ Stiles sniffles and starts biting his nails.
Scott starts giggling. "Sorry, man."
Stiles refuses to talk about it. What's the point, everybody's seen it. No wonder people think he is gay.
The point is, Stiles takes great pride in refusing to do videos that everybody and their grandma does. Stupid challenges and even stupider reaction videos and things like that. Let's jump from the roof, set our house on fire, anything for views kind of videos. Stiles has style. He has class, dammit.
He ends the call after he agrees for Scott to pick him up in an hour and goes to his closet to find a decent shirt to wear for this... terrifying occasion.
When Stiles started doing YouTube a few, maybe six months ago, it was just for fun. And for expressing his rampant creativity, if he did say so himself, but it was just between him, his camera and his WiFi connection.
Now, he has a manager. With files. Who makes him do things he would never do if it were up to him, and peddle products he would never use. Like GlamGlow, for fuck's sake. Stiles thinks it had to be the last nail in his 'Stiles is totally gay' coffin -- not that he minds, though, he would like to emphasize. When you lather facial masks on every night, what would you expect, right. Which is a totally regressive way of thinking from such a progressive community such as YouTube, if you ask him. You can manscape and still be into girls, thank you very much.
In the end, he decides to skip the getting ready part altogether and just go as he is, hair all messed up, in his Grinch pajama pants, a graphic tee which says lookin' like a snack and his Nike slides. He rubs his eyes and checks in the mirror for any crusts on his face or food on his teeth. Luckily, there aren't any and he smacks his lips in satisfaction. Fuck you, GlamGlow. He is a total dude. With baby soft skin, but a dude's dude nonetheless. Just look at him all messy... and dude-sy.
The thing is, Stiles knows he can't say no to Kate. She would squish him like a bug, wipe his bloody corpse off the soles of her Manolo's and end his career in two shakes of a lamb's tail.
But, Stiles feels he can at least get to choose how he looks and what he wears off camera.
When they get to the YouTube offices downtown, the whole gang is already there, with Erica and Isaac sitting far from each other like it's a secret they're banging (so not a secret -- Stiles has personally caught them red-handed on two separate occasions), and have been doing so ever since Isaac guested on Erica's MUA channel and let her put makeup all over his cherub face.
Lydia and Jackson chose to sit in chairs so as to not ruin their impeccable business suits, and Stiles feels like throwing up when he sees them, Jackson especially. Yep, the trauma is still alive and well. Come on. He knows YouTube is business like any other and they're all making serious coin, but it's not like they're Wall Street bankers or something.
Plus, he can't stand Jackson and his douchey pompous ass peddling perfumes, fancy beverages and expensive vacation spots to his rich clientele.
Lydia, of course, is a fashion guru, the haute couture goddess of YouTube.
Stiles scratches behind his ear and juts his chin out, refusing to be embarrassed about his appearance.
“McCall, Stilinski, sit your butts down,“ Kate growls from behind her desk, their files already on a pile in front of her, and Scott and Stiles plop down on the sofa like someone cut all their strings at once.
Judging by the expression on everyone's faces, they've already gotten their assignments and they're not liking it.
“Stilinski, our rising star!“ she almost shouts, with the cringiest fake smile to ever fake, and opens his file with a flourish. “Half a million subscribers,“ she says and Stiles squirms in his seat, trying not to grab Scott's hand like he wants to. “You're one of our fastest growing channels. So, we have special assignments for you. Naturally. First, you have to change the name of your channel.“
“What? No!“ Stiles squeaks, almost involuntarily. He didn't mean to, he really didn't. He looks around to see if anyone else thinks he's a dead man.
He clears his throat. “I mean, my subscribers already know me by that name. Don't you think it'll be confusing for them?“ The name is his baby. It's how he started. It's what's brought him fame. It's what he is, in the end. A movie geek. He is going to cry.
Kate looks at him stonily. “We love your current subscribers. But we love your future subscribers even more. Capisce? You need to branch out. And who in their right mind calls their channel MovieKid? It's so...“
“Basic,“ Lydia chirps in and Stiles wants to strangle her so, so badly. But she just plows on. “Limited?“
“Restrictive,“ Kate adds.
It's like they're playing ping-pong with Stiles' balls and it fucking hurts just like that.
“You need something more relatable and specific, something that will immediately be associated with your brand, even if it's just your name.“
“My brand?“ Stiles meeps weakly. He had no idea he had a brand.
She ignores him and Stiles feels like it's probably for the best. “We have three videos mapped out for you, one with Erica here, who'll do your makeup for the first time ever, right? Take your virginity, so to speak."
She turns to Erica. "Make sure you specify that in the video.“
Erica grins, her glossy red lipstick freaking the hell out of Stiles. Erica is cool, they're friends, but just... Stiles is a little scared. What, she's scary!
And pissed at the same time because the idea for the video is not exactly appealing to him. He's just not that kind of guy. He doesn't understand why YouTube thinks people would want to see him with makeup on. He's not that pretty, no matter what most of his fans say. And the gay rumors are pretty much writing themselves at this point.
Although, he does wonder what he would look like in makeup... He bets he would be hot...
Kate wakes him up brutally from his daydreaming seance. “And then, a total makeover on Lydia's channel! Lydia, make sure to get rid of all his clothes. If I see him in his pajamas one more time...“ Thankfully, Kate doesn't finish that sentence, but Jackson gives him an absolutely murderous look.
Stiles' shoulders slump in defeat.
Kate makes a dramatic pause.
“But before all that, you'll guest on Derek Hale's channel.“
Derek Hale? Who? What? He at least knows Lydia and Erica. He's in familiar waters. This guy... he does not know him.
“Who the fuck is Derek Hale?“ Stiles blurts out and bites his lips immediately after. He should not have said that. Sorry, he mouths silently to no one in particular.
Kate pins him with her glare one more time. She doesn't find him cute nor charming, clearly. “Language, Stilinski.“
She goes through her phone, her long, pointy nails clickity-clacking on the screen and the sound makes Stiles shiver in horror. “He runs a cooking channel. He's also on a significant rise, but he needs to mellow out. Soften up. Broaden his horizons, attract new viewers, just like you. I have this... feeling that you could mellow him somewhat.“
Kate smiles sweetly. “You'll meet at his place since he hates leaving the house, apparently,“ she says, sighing in annoyance. “Tomorrow, nine a.m. I'll text you the address.“
“Wait a minute, I don't even know this guy, come on,“ Stiles tries. “I mean, what am I supposed to do with him, just watch him cook, I don't get it.“
Kate pinches her forehead in annoyance. “Stilinski, stop wasting my time. Don't make me do your job. Here's a hint – think of something. Have the video published by the end of the week,“ she says dismissively and cancels him out.
"This week?" Stiles asks in disbelief, but no one even looks at him, leaving him to his agony.
He just... zones out after that. Somewhere deep in his mind, he draws comfort from the idea that he can stand up right now and tell Kate to fuck off. He can leave. He can do something else. He doesn't need YouTube. He's young, he has ideas. Opportunities.
Kate moves on to Scott after that, and after a few minutes, Stiles pulls out his phone and searches YouTube for Derek Hale.
He learns that Derek's channel is almost as big as Stiles' and all his thumbnails are images of food. That's weird. Stiles kind of wants to know what the guy looks like. He scrolls down to check out the comment section and gets shocked right out of his pants.
Derek Hale's comment section is thirsty, and not just for food. Nope, barely any food-related comments there.
But what it's filled with are comment upon dirty comment talking about his rocking bod and what they would do with it, in graphic details. And here Stiles thought that his viewers were bad. Stiles turns his phone off, deciding to google Derek's face later.
When they all leave the office, Lydia corners him in the elevator. “I know you hate all this, but it's good for you. You'll thank her for it when you hit million subs. Keep your eyes on the prize.“
When Stiles just smiles weakly at her, she adds almost meanly. “And get rid of all your crappy outfits, because if I do it, I'll throw away everything.“
That evening, Stiles stuffs all his favorite sweatpants and pajamas and t-shirts into large garbage bags and hides them in the pantry.
Lydia Martin can eat his Batman shorts.
Derek Hale is... weird, Stiles decides. And hot as fuck, but also weird, at least a little bit. He greets Stiles with a smile that shows all of his pearly whites and Stiles blinks in confusion.
Stiles has watched a few of his videos in preparation, like the nerd that he is, but sue him -- he likes being prepared. To adjust his socializing techniques accordingly. Or to avoid ugly surprises, mostly.
So... what his preparation does for him is basically... nothing. If you count completely mislead him as nothing, that is.
The guy that greets him at the door of his apartment is most definitely not what Stiles expected. He saw Derek's videos, all right - so he expected hot and grumpy and standoffish. And growly, yes. There has been an undeniable level of sexy hotness in Derek's videos while Derek chopped his peppers in a highly grumpy and almost angry manner, Stiles would like to add - in a resting bitch-face kind of way, because of his perpetual frown -- but extremely sexy.
People clearly love that. Stiles also can't claim with a hundred percent veracity that he is immune to it.
Also, the guy clearly takes the cooking thing very seriously.
Stiles has mentally prepared himself to be all jolly and chirpy so that he could cheer the dude up a little. That is his social technique of choice in this particular situation. Bring a little Stilinski joy and sunshine into their collaboration.
Oh, boy. Way to be waaaay off the mark.
What Stiles gets is flirty, smiley, and yes, even hotter than he initially thought. Stiles feels cheated. Tricked by the deceitful YouTube videos. He wants reimbursement. But, he'll regroup, Stiles thinks. It'll be fine. No one could ever accuse Stiles of being unadaptable. Inflexible. Nope, not him.
When Derek smiles at him, because that is a smile, a very nice one, and gives Stiles a lascivious elevator look before he beckons him inside, Stiles gets really confused, to say the least.
“Tell me, Stiles, do you cook?“ Derek says in lieu of greeting.
Stiles blinks a few times, not knowing where to look first, at the place or his host. “I mean, when I'm really hungry, and I don't order in, which I normally do. Sometimes I make sandwiches,“ he manages. Praise the gods. He didn't stutter, at least. His palms start sweating.
Derek scoffs, attractively. How he manages that is beyond Stiles. He just curled his lips, revealing sharp incisors, and his beard was just... and his face, like the shape of it... Stiles would say that everything about that scoff was aesthetically pleasing. Impartially speaking.
Stiles bristles anyway. What an asshole. So what, so fucking what if he doesn't know how to broil chicken or saute vegetables. Stiles feels instantly insulted, but he tries not to show it.
He'll give the guy the benefit of the doubt, he decides, so he tries again. “I can make ramen noodles? Mac and cheese? Microwave Hot Pockets? Arrange pizza slices in a satisfactory manner? That sort of thing. I wouldn't call myself a chef per se.“
Derek gives him another full body exam, clearly amused.
Stiles feels exposed and judged. Heavily judged, and he does not like it. Does he look like someone who eats out all the time? Is it because of his clothes? Is it...?
“Hmm. You're underweight,“ Derek supplies and Stiles' thoughts screech to an abrupt halt.
Stiles' brain explodes. What the actual fuck.
Stiles manages to be pissed off and blush at the same time. This guy clearly needs some basic etiquette pointers. “That's rude. We've just met. Why would you say something like that?“ he asks, deciding that the show is over, that his patience has run out and that he has no more benefits of the doubt to give. He's all out. He will not let this guy humiliate him, views and subscribers and Kate be damned.
Derek smirks and looks at Stiles like he is the unreasonable one. “It was just an observation. And it's not like it's a bad thing... on you. Not a bad thing at all, Stiles.“
Not a bad thing my ass. Stiles didn't think it was possible, but he blushes even more. “I prefer to think of myself as lithe, if you must now."
"Nice," Derek retorts, licking his lips.
Stiles blinks. Oh. Oooooohh. "Are you flirting with me? Because I'm not gay.“
Derek laughs. He laughs, and Stiles feels this uncontrollable urge to just... smack him over his ridiculous face. Instead he just bristles in impotent frustration.
Not that Derek cares. Unperturbed, he just runs his hand through his trimmed beard, over his bottom lip, and hems. “Shame."
Stiles gapes unattractively.
"Come on, Stiles, let me show you my set up,“ Derek says, all relaxed and chill, and Stiles decides that he hates him.
But, but... he also decides to be a bigger man here and let it slide. For now. Who knows, this collaboration might turn out to be a success, and it's important to maintain good relations in this business. Right.
He tries to relax, and especially tries not to look at Derek's ass when he leads him to the kitchen, but his eyes just go there on their own volition. Traitors. Damn, those are some tight jeans the man's wearing, Stiles thinks. Stiles can't not look. He feels ashamed and spectacularly betrayed by his own cerebral activities. He puts his best social 'innocent and wide-eyed' expression in full gear and prays for the best.
Derek's entire kitchen is equipped like a studio. He has four cameras, two for closeups of the stove and the counter-top, one for his face and one for totals; and special lights and canvasses and what not.
Stiles whistles softly. “Wow. Impressive. Do you ever move your equipment? Do you film anything else aside from cooking?“ he asks.
“No and no. Sit there,“ Derek shows him one of the bar stools. In a commanding manner that Stiles totally resents. “The whole setup is pretty self-explanatory.“
“Well, what am I going to do in your video?“
“Whatever. It doesn't matter. We're going to decide today, and then you'll come back on Thursday for the filming. I still haven't bought the ingredients. But, something simple, for starters.“
Stiles watches as Derek fixes some kind of a drink for him. He frowns. Derek hasn't even asked Stiles if he wanted one.
“You could teach me how to cook something?“ Stiles tries. That'd be cool. He could experiment on Scott at home. Maybe he even manages not to poison him.
Derek laughs, and then laughs some more. Stiles frowns even more.
Well. Stiles gets really offended now, gets all bristly like a little hedgehog. “Why the hell not? Why is that so funny? I'm perfectly capable to make a meal.“
Derek looks at him and bites his bottom lip, playing with his beard.
What a grade A douche!
Stiles tries not to squirm in his seat. This guy is really intense.
“It isn't, I'm sorry I laughed. I just don't do that, teach other people how to cook. It takes years. It takes time, and dedication, and talent. It's not... something simplistic, like juggling, or riding a bike. You don't just pick a random person and teach them, it's impossible. It would be... a waste of time.“
What a pretentious douche, Stiles thinks. Well, fuck him and the ladle he rode in on.
“Wow,“ Stiles says waspishly. “Are you a massive jerk only when it comes to cooking, or generally speaking? What a load of bullshit. You act like cooking is some... high art or something, or brain surgery, but it's not, buddy, it's just not. Sorry to disappoint.“
He is never going to get along with this guy, never. Who does he think he is, some cooking Messiah? Stiles forgot to ask Kate how old he was, but he is clearly older than Stiles. He must be in his middle, maybe late twenties. Maybe he's even thirty, but only looks younger. Old man. Crappy, crappy old man on the end of his career.
Derek smirks, all relaxed and knowing. “You wouldn't understand.“
“Oh, fuck off, you, you asshat!“ Stiles explodes finally, all flushed and indignant. He jumps down from his chair. “The deal is off. I'm not filming with you. You can tell Kate to find someone else for you to molest, because I'm not doing it.“
Derek looks stunned. He eyes Stiles warily and like he doesn't understand his reaction, at all. But he reacts in a second.
“Hey!“ Derek somehow appears next to him, and grabs Stiles' arm, concerned. Stiles doesn't buy it for one second. “I was just kidding! It's... I was joking with you. Calm down, Stiles, please."
But Stiles cannot calm down. He breathes heavily and refuses to look Derek in the eye.
When he finally does, he can't stand the concern in Derek's eyes. His own start to water a little and he has no idea what's going on with him.
Derek's voice turns softer. "Oh my god. You're shaking. Please, relax. It was a just joke. Like, everybody expects a pretentious chef? Ha-ha? Get it?“
Stiles tries to calm down.
Derek's closeness is also extremely unsettling. He tries to squirm away from him. "No, I don't get it, Derek. It was not funny. You are so not funny. No more jokes for you, old man."
"Old man, huh?" Derek's hand running up and down his back isn't helping. "Please, sit down. I'm sorry."
Stiles also remembers that he hasn't eaten anything since yesterday and that his sugar level is probably extremely low. Hence the shaking.
“So sensitive,“ he hears Derek whisper.
Stiles shivers. The man's voice crawls over his skin like a wave of goosebumps. Also, he smells really fucking nice.
Stiles' head starts floating, but he raises his arms a little in defense. “Okay! All right. I'm fine. It's fine.“
"You're a prickly little thing, aren't you, Stiles? Have you eaten breakfast?"
When Stiles just climbs back into his chair without dignifying him with a reply, Derek goes back behind the counter and starts peeling an orange, throwing glances Stiles' way every few seconds, as if Stiles would vanish if he didn't. He carefully splits the fruit in several slices, arranges them on a little porcelain plate, dribbles something over them from a bottle and pushes the plate towards Stiles.
Stiles would so crack a joke right now about how he makes a pompous show of serving a simple fruit if he still wasn't trying to compose himself. This way, he watches the juice dribble down Derek's masculine, hairy fingers and forgets all about it.
He snaps out of it when Derek speaks up. “I can perhaps teach you some cutting techniques. Or you could just ask me questions while I'm cooking, some kind of getting to know each other type of video.“
Stiles bites down on a slice of orange and shivers again when it bursts under his teeth, swallowing the juice first and the crazy amount of saliva that his glands produce at the citrusy taste. He licks his lips. “I like that. We can do that.“
Derek smiles, nodding. He looks at Stiles with new gentleness and Stiles can't take it. If he starts crying again, he's going to kill himself.
"I-- I don't know what happened to me." He tries not to sniffle. "I don't... normally behave like this."
Derek magically produces a piece of dark chocolate from somewhere and puts it in front of Stiles, nudging it towards him in silent offering.
"What kind of videos do you make?"
Stiles licks his lips to remove traces of chocolate. "About movies."
"Yeah? What's your favorite film?" Derek asks softly.
Stiles sighs, calmer. "I don't have one. I could probably make a top ten list, though. I like classics, like The Third Man or Citizen Kane. From contemporary authors, I like Darren Aronofsky, and the Coen brothers, and Christopher Nolan, Joe Wright, Tarantino... and many others."
"What about you? Do you have a favorite film?" Stiles asks.
"Mhm. It's Call Me By Your Name by Luca Guadagnino."
"Oh." Stiles definitely expected something... less emotional. Like Jaws. "It's... a great movie."
Derek nods, still smiling at Stiles. Stiles doesn't know what to do with all the warmth emanating from the man towards him.
“What kind of questions can I ask you for our video? Only cooking related or... “ Stiles asks.
Derek shrugs. “Anything, really. If I don't like something, I'll edit it out. Just relax, I don't want you freaking out over the questions. And I apologize once again for not having a sense of humor.“
Stiles squints at him because he isn't sure he isn't being mocked here, again. But Derek looks at him kindly and he relaxes.
They reach a tentative, loose agreement after a while. Nothing to write home about. When Stiles leaves half an hour later, his stomach is full and he can feel Derek's eyes burning holes on his back all the way down the stairs. What a guy.
Stiles does the exact opposite of what Derek told him and spends his entire Wednesday freaking out.
He wants to be cool about the entire thing, he tries to be cool about the entire thing, but ultimately fails. And what's funny, he doesn't even know why. Stiles isn't camera shy, and even though he wouldn't call himself a social butterfly, he does consider himself to be a people's person. He's communicative, he's chill, he can crack a joke or two. He has no idea why he's freaking out, if he's being honest. There's just something about this guy that throws him for a loop.
He feels moderately embarrassed by his emotional meltdown from their previous encounter, but not too much - he's aware that, however embarrassing, the unexpected development has conveniently served as an excellent bonding experience. To put it simply, he feels closer to the guy.
On Thursday, he changes his outfit three times.
Lydia calls to tell him that if he wears his pajama pants, she will personally disembowel him.
In the end, Stiles puts on his black skinny jeans and a hoodie and calls it a day.
As soon as he enters Derek's apartment, the guy shoves a bowl of fruit and some nuts, almonds or cashews, Stiles thinks, under his nose. When Stiles eyes him questioningly, Derek smiles. “You strike me as a guy who skips his breakfast.“
But Stiles isn't in a mood. His nerves are frayed with all the contemplation and... the delicacy of the situation. “Let's just get this over with,“ he says gloomily and goes straight into the kitchen.
Derek's smile falls.
Stiles keeps ignoring the bowl which Derek put in front of him.
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,“ Derek says.
Stiles rolls his eyes.
"When you have something for breakfast, you're not going to be starving by lunch!"
Stiles bites his lips. "And you're serving cliches for it, I guess? Thanks, but I'll pass."
Derek chuckles. "You don't go walking into the proverbial lion's den lightly. You start with a good breakfast."
Stiles looks at him incredulously. “Are you the lion in this situation, Derek? Did I not tell you not to joke?“
“Eat your breakfast, Stiles. You're a growing boy. Your body, and your grammar, are clearly suffering.“
“I'm nineteen!“ Stiles splutters.
Derek just smiles and gets this evil look that Stiles does not like, at all. His hand goes slowly for the bowl, without taking his eyes off Stiles. His fingers close around a strawberry and almost lift it, when Stiles realizes that he clearly plans to feed it to him.
Oh, no. He grabs the bowl before Derek's hand reaches it. “All right, all right, I'll eat it! Jesus.“
This is all so frustrating. He refuses to look at Derek and gives him the satisfaction of acknowledging his victory. But he does keep munching on his fruit salad.
Derek lets himself gloat for a hot second before he looks directly at the camera and announces officially: “Today, I'm making a swallow's nest soup, and saffron risotto with white truffles.“
Stiles chokes on his fruit. “What the hell, Derek! Are the cameras rolling? Why didn't you tell me?!“ He goes all red in the face, coughs, and a few almond bits spray out of his mouth. He swiftly sends them to the floor with his hand. So embarrassing.
Derek almost cracks a smile. Almost. “I have a guest today. It's a very young, and very delicious, Stiles Stilinski. He'll be asking me all kinds of questions. This special meal is for him.“
It's a shock after shock for Stiles. A never-ending wave of shocks. The hits just keep on rolling.
Stiles doesn't even know what to address first. He... just can't. “I can't do this, Derek!“ he squeaks. “What do you mean, a swallow's nest soup, like, from twigs and branches? Ugh. Who would eat that shit? I can't! I feel sick already.“
What's even worse, he can hear his stomach complaining for real. It rumbles and gurgles like a broken down faucet.
Derek tries to ignore him, but even though he bites his lips, his nostrils give away the laughter that is trying to escape him, and his cheeks and his chin which flutter and shake. At Stiles' expense, clearly.
Nonplussed, Derek's already chopping things up on his fancy chopping board. “The nest of these birds is made almost entirely from their saliva—“
Stiles claps his hand over his mouth. “I’m gonna puke.”
“— without any additions of foreign material. Consequently, their nests have become a delicacy in Chinese cooking. The high price of this dish is easily explained: collecting swallows’ nests is a somewhat dangerous occupation. The birds build their nests on sheer cliffs, where the risk of falling off is very high.”
Stiles' eyes are watering. “Are you doing this to me on purpose? Saliva? Do you want me to empty my stomach all over your fancy kitchen? Because I will, Derek, don’t think I won’t. And then it'll be like you force-fed me breakfast for nothing!”
“Are you this squeamish about all bodily fluids?” Derek smirks at him and Stiles blushes. Of course he blushes, like a virginal bride.
“I won’t even dignify that with an answer. And I’m not putting that thing in my mouth either.” He closes his eyes briefly, fully expecting Derek to joke about the things he would put in his mouth, but Derek thankfully spares him.
Stiles collects himself and tries to regain his professionalism. “You say the price is high. What price are we talking about here?”
“The cost of this delicacy is around $3,000 per kilogram.”
Stiles blanches. “What?! Dude. You're making videos on YouTube. You don't work in some high class, million Michelin star restaurant.“
Stiles frowns. “What?“
“I own a three Michelin star restaurant. Which is incidentally the most you can get.“
“Derek... Can we stop? I-- I'm so lost. What are we even doing here? Why do you film videos at all?“ Stiles asks quietly. He feels small, unable to understand the situation. "You're not lying to me, are you?"
"Hey! Don't be like that. I'm not lying, Stiles," Derek gets all concerned again and Stiles' heart does this strange squeezing-squishing thing in his chest. "Rich people do YouTube, too."
He is so unprepared for this shit.
They enjoy the silence for a while.
He observes Derek's bare hands working. It's a bit weird that of all the hot parts on Derek that he can obsess over, he is most fascinated by his hands.
Like he could somehow tell, Derek rubs one of his fingers around the rim of the pan where some of the sauce has splattered and reaches towards Stiles' face. He does not say try it. If he did, Stiles probably wouldn't. Probably.
“It's not sanitary," Stiles tries.
Derek doesn't smirk. "Open your mouth.“
And Stiles does. He opens his mouth and sticks his tongue out like on command. For a very brief moment, Stiles expected that he would refuse it, that he would feel embarrassed, but he doesn't. He's surprised by himself. He feels absolutely normal. And safe.
So he opens his mouth.
Derek doesn't just put a finger in his mouth. He presses it against his tongue and swipes down, the ribbed skin on his fingertip catching on Stiles' taste buds, and somehow all the flavor bursts most potently when it reaches the tip of it. "How is it?"
Stiles smacks his lips. "Weird. But you don't see me hurling my guts, so you get at least one Stiles star."
Derek flashes him the brightest of smiles.
Stiles refuses to be embarrassed. “So, what is it that you do on YouTube?“
Derek puts another chopping board in front of Stiles, together with the truffles and a small knife. “Many things. I feel like this is the best way for people to get to know me, my style of cooking, what I am about. Also, it's like a video cookbook of sorts. I never make the same thing twice. I love sharing, too. No secret ingredients for me. I believe in transparency, but, even if you watch my videos until your eyes fall out, you won't be able to recreate the same tasting meal. You look, you absorb, appreciate the process of preparation, and then you come to my restaurant to taste.“
“What's it called?“
“The restaurant? Talia.“
Derek takes the knife and shows Stiles how to chop. “Like this. Small strips. It's called Julienne, this particular technique.“
Derek's forearm brushes against Stiles' hand several times and Stiles cannot stop looking. “Huh?“ He has no idea what Derek just said.
“The knife technique. Look. It's simple.“ Derek comes around the counter to stand behind Stiles. He puts the knife into his hand and wraps his own around Stiles'. “The shape of food is so far from serving the aesthetic purpose only. It determines the cooking time. It brings out the flavors. Each bit has to fit each bite perfectly. So... we cut this... Julienne.“
Stiles' dick twitches in his pants and his eyes widen in shock. He swallows down an imaginary lump. “I got it. I think. It's a little hot in here, don't you think?“
Sweat starts pooling at the bottom of his back. Derek turns up the air conditioner in silence.
“So, tell me, Stiles, how come a cutie-pie like you doesn't have a girlfriend?“ Derek asks when he returns to his spot and Stiles nearly chops his own fingers off.
“What? How do you know I don't have a girlfriend?“
“I've seen your videos.“
Stiles squints at him. “You watched my video?!"
"Videos. Plural," Derek corrects. "I've seen all of them."
"Way," Derek chuckles.
"We only like met the day before yesterday. So you either followed my channel way before that, which I doubt, or you're full of shit, as per usual.“
Derek laughs at him warmly. “Let's just say I spent an interesting Wednesday.“
“Dude,“ Stiles can't believe it. “I have over forty videos and some of them are half an hour long.“
“What can I say,“ Derek laughs again. “I binge-watched them. And stop trying to deflect. Answer my question.“
“I...“ Stiles doesn't know what to say. If he should say anything at all. “I just don't. No particular reason. That's just how it is. What do you want me to say?“
“Nothing, nothing,“ Derek says. “It was just a simple question. Sorry if it disturbs you.“
Stiles sighs, and tries not to butcher the truffles. It does not disturb him.
“What about you?“ he decides to ask, only because of reciprocity. Not because he cares, of course.
“Well, I do have a particular reason for not having a girlfriend - I'm gay. But unfortunately, no boyfriend, either.“
Stiles swallows. “Cool. I didn't. Know, I mean. I didn't know.“
Derek licks the spoon. “It's all right.“ He looks at Stiles' unblinking eyes. “I forgive you,“ he says and Stiles feels sweat rushing out of his pores all over his body. His briefs are wet at this point.
What the fuck. What the actual fuck. What are they even doing here? More importantly, what's happening to him? Kate's going to lynch him. Derek's going to have to edit half of the questions out. It's a total mess. Stiles is a mess. Everything is a mess.
In the end, Derek makes Stiles try everything by literally feeding him spoonfuls over the counter, and Stiles has no other options, really; it's not like there's a set table around here somewhere where he can sit and eat properly, or like Stiles could really refuse – that would be so rude. So he eats everything, and he doesn't throw up. If he is being honest, the food is pretty delicious.
They chat about this and that, and Derek sends him off with a glass bowl filled with some chocolaty mousse thing and a final parting joke about snacks eating snacks which Stiles pretends to not understand but secretly does and really enjoys.
As soon as he gets home, he sends Scott an emergency text message. 'Dude. Mayday. Mayday. Existentialist crisis. Get your ass over here. Pronto.'
He sits at the counter in his own kitchen and takes the cellophane off the mousse. He briefly considers getting a spoon, but he quickly vets that idea. It's got to be the finger. He jabs his index finger inside and starts licking the mousse off of it like an animal. He makes sure to press down on his tongue and drag. Just like Derek did.
It doesn't feel the same. It's just sad. Stiles wants to cry. He hugs the bowl instead.
That's how Scott finds him when he runs into the kitchen, out of breath and panting. “Are you all right? What happened? What's going on? Did Derek kill you?“
Stiles just sighs into his dessert. “Scott, do you think I'm gay?“
“What? No. Are you? I don't know. Yes?" Scott splutters out.
"But I could be, right?"
"You totally could be, bro," Scott says and doesn't even complain that Stiles dragged him from his work over his gay crisis number 347. Best friend ever. He grabs a spoon from the drying rack and digs into the mousse. “This shit is good.“
“If you think that a guy is hot, does that make you gay?“
“Definitely not, dude,“ Scott nods wisely. “I think many guys are hot.“ Then he stops and blinks for a second. “Actually, scratch that. I don't have time to think about hot dudes, because I spend my entire time thinking about hot girls. A hot girl. Just one. Kira. And she's hot." He gets this dreamy look in his eyes so Stiles jabs him in the ribs. Scott jerks and continues. "But, I can have an opinion about a guy's level of hotness and that doesn't make me gay.“
“Also, bro, there are way safer tests to determine that.“
“Yeah? Like what?“ Stiles asks, but he doesn't have much hope at this point. He already knows what Scott's going to say.
“Yeah. Like, do you want to see his dick. Or touch his dick. Or, you know, do anything with his dick. That one is a 100 percent efficient.“
Of course Stiles wants to see Derek's dick! Let's be real here, who doesn't. Not only Stiles, but half of YouTube population, apparently. Does that mean they're all gay? It doesn't. Hence, Stiles might not be gay even if he does dream about Derek's dick.
When Stiles doesn't say anything, Scott stops eating. “Dude, I'm freaking out. You gotta tell me what's going on. Did you film with Derek?“
Stiles gets up and washes his hands. He wrestles the bowl from Scott's grip. He wants the mousse to last longer.
“Yes, but he probably won't publish it. It was a mess. I cursed like a sailor, insulted his food, almost puked... And. I think he flirted with me,“ Stiles announces bravely.
Scott drops his spoon and his eyes pop out. “Please tell me you're not having a gay crisis over Derek Hale!“
Stiles' eyes widen in surprise. “What? Why not? What's wrong with him?“ He almost starts panicking after this reaction from Scott. Like Stiles isn't worried enough already. Scott's really not helping.
Scott waves his arms around trying to conjure up all things Derek out of thin air, like Derek is some kind of an evil giant. “Well, he's all manly, and big, and older, you know."
I seem to like big and manly, Stiles thinks, but he remains silent. Scott doesn't need to know that, it's private.
"If you need to gay experiment, we'll find you a cute little boy."
Stiles doesn't want a cute little boy. He wants big and manly.
But Scott keeps mapping out Stiles' first gay experience for him. "Nice. Safe. Smaller than you.“
Derek's nice, Stiles thinks, a little offended on Derek's behalf. Like they're boyfriends already and Stiles feels the need to defend his boyfriend's honor. Stiles smiles. He knew he would be the best boyfriend ever.
Scott's face is all serious. “Stiles, my man. You haven't dated in more than two years. I'm worried. And not to mention that Derek's rich, and strong, and just... Power imbalance!" he shouts. "That's it. That's not good. You need balance. I need to know that he won't snap you like a twig if you change your mind half way through.“
At that point, Stiles' face is hidden in his arms and he's breathing into the counter. But that's just it, he thinks. Stiles thinks that's half of Derek's appeal, beside the extreme hotness.
And he definitely couldn't admit that to his best friend to safe his life.
A day later, he calls Erica. "Am I gay?"
"I don't know, babe. But Isaac's bi and I'll let you two fuck if I get to watch."
Stiles hangs up on her.
He tries calling Lydia, too. "Do you think I could be gay, Lyds?"
"Again, Stiles? It's like pulling teeth with you, I swear. Your sex life is so non-existent these days that you don't get to claim you're straight, either. You're practically a eunuch."
When Stiles whines, she offers more placidly. "You can be whatever you want to be. If you want to have sex, just do it, stop thinking so much about it."
She hangs up on him.
Two days later, he wakes up to an angry text message from Kate. My office. Noon. Be there! and he groans. What now. He did the video with Derek like she asked, even though he didn't check if it was published yet out of sheer mortification; he has a meeting with Erica tomorrow and with Lydia later in the week. All his clothes are safely hidden. Stiles is a functioning human being.
Out of spite, he takes out his Batman pajama pants and a faded yellow t-shirt that says 'best boyfriend ever' with a big thumbs up showing at his face. Who cares, right; besides, it's got to be true, hypothetically speaking. Stiles is certain that if he were to be someone's boyfriend, he would definitely be the best one ever.
The thought kind of cheers him up a little. It's a nice, positive thought. He starts bouncing and kind of hopping a little in his walk.
On his way there, he buys a hot dog from Salvatore on the corner of Westbrook and 53rd, which is only the best hot dog ever, and it kind of goes with his shirt. His mood dims though when he manages to spill half of his chili down the said shirt. Whatever. He's having a great day and he won't let anything ruin it. He dabs at it perfunctorily with a napkin, still chewing, and steps inside.
Two things happen at the same time then: he sees Derek Hale sitting in a chair across from Kate, he chokes on his hot dog, and realizes that there are chunks of sauce on his Converse. That's three things, actually.
And then he trips. He manages to fall face first onto a sofa, but his lower body ends up splayed on the floor.
He hears someone chuckle, but he refuses to stand up. It's safe here, in the realm of the sofa and its plushy softness. Stiles will just... stay here.
He groans. Someone's hands help him stand up, and it's stupid Derek with his stupid face and smile and everything. Stiles wants to throw himself at him and demand to take him home. Which he doesn't, mostly because of the chili situation, otherwise he so would.
“What did I say about the pajama pants!?“ Kate booms.
“You know,“ Stiles flails around a little, trying to gather up enough indignation and righteous anger, pushing Derek's hands away from him. “I can wear whatever I want. It's a free country. Freedom of expression and all that. It's part of my character.“
Miraculously, Kate lets him have it.
Stiles senses a trap there somewhere, because Kate never lets up. It's like her jaw locks down and she can't help it.
Stiles sits in the chair next to Derek anyway and tries to hide his soiled feet under Kate's desk.
“Have you seen the video that you two did together yet?“ Kate asks him.
Stiles blushes. He hasn't, and he knows he should have. It would have been nice if he had expressed some interest there, but he was having a crisis and he just... couldn't. He can't say it because he doesn't want to offend Derek, but after a few moments he becomes aware that his silence is a reply enough.
Derek's probably offended. Stiles refuses to look at him, but he has no choice but to tell the truth. So he just shakes his head.
“The video, which Derek has so conveniently named YUM...“ Kate looks like it pains her to say that.
“I'm sorry!“ Stiles cries out. His nerves are kaput.
Both Derek and Kate look at him blankly.
“For whatever it is that you're mad about,“ Stiles tries, but Kate ignores him.
“I can't believe you published it,“ he whispers in Derek's direction.
“As I was saying. The video has 1.6 million views,“ Kate says.
Stiles gasps. What. WHAT. How? He starts rifling through his pajama pockets for his phone, to check if Kate's messing with him. It sounds crazy. It sounds impossible.
And yet, it's true. Stiles sees the number of views on the video clearly and also sees that he himself has gained over a hundred thousand new subscribers overnight.
He silently returns the phone in his pocket and keeps his complete meltdown inside even though his brain is screaming. Kudos to him.
“It's true. It got 1.6 million views in a little over twenty-four hours. Derek published it this time yesterday. Over ten percent likes, almost 200.000, with over three thousand comments. And it seems to be gaining traction. The number of Derek's subscribers has skyrocketed, too. Phenomenal engagement.“
When both Derek and Stiles remain silent, she smiles smarmily and continues. “It's a miracle! Congratulations!"
Derek blinks at her. "Yay!" he says and waves his hands in the air, shocking Stiles into a fit of inelegant giggles. Which makes Derek laugh in return. Which then makes Stiles smile. They just end up staring at each other with smiles on their faces, basically.
"Let's now see why, shall we? I'll read some of the most popular comments.“ Kate clears her throat and proceeds in monotone. “They're so cute, OMG."
Kate scrolls down. " Did you see how Derek eats him up with his eyes? 10:45 – relationship goals."
Stiles blushes even more. He didn't notice the eye eating... thing.
Derek just stares at the distance.
Kate continues. "Ah, this one's my favorite: I want my future husband to feed me like that." Scroll, scroll, scroll.
Stiles is mortified. He knew he shouldn't have done that! But there was no table! Everybody would have done the same in Stiles' situation, right.
"Stiles and Derek for life. Sterek is REAL. Derek so wants to tap that Bambi ass!"
Stiles sinks further into his chair and closes his eyes. Bambi? He is definitely more dangerous than Bambi. He is a puma, at least. Or a mountain lion. A big one.
But Kate continues reading, picking up steam as she goes. "Their chemistry is through the roof! Did you SEE Stiles' eyelashes? I can't believe I'm jealous over a guy. OMG HE MADE DEREK LAUGH I'VE NEVER SEEN DEREK LAUGH BEFORE THEY SHOULD GET MARRIED AND HAVE LITTLE BABIES TOGETHER."
Stiles does have great eyelashes. He preens a little on the inside.
"Did y'all see how flustered Stiles was, he wants that D, Sterek 4 life, Sterek has cleared my acne, cured my depression and solved all my problems... and so on and so forth.“
Stiles is dead. He has died and gone to a place where no one knows he wants Derek's D. He meeps a little instead, his voice all hoarse from shock. “What's, what's Sterek?“
Kate laughs. “It's your ship name. Stiles plus Derek. Sterek. When you make another video, make sure to put the hashtag #Sterek.“
“Another video?“ Stiles croaks, but he distinctly hears Derek say, “Okay!“
That's when Stiles stops ignoring him and hones in on him. “What do you mean okay? How are you okay with this? This is ridiculous. This is insane. I won't do it.“
“I'm thinking, a challenge of some kind. Dirty secrets, perhaps. Or chap-stick challenge,“ Kate pushes on, ignoring Stiles completely. When she sees that Stiles is pale as a sheet, she shows a grain of mercy and suggests something less nerve-wrecking. “Or you could try sweets together. Polish, because of your descent? I couldn't care less. Think of something. It doesn't really matter,“ she waves them off in clear dismissal.
“I won't do it,“ Stiles persists, clutching the fabric of his pajama pants like a lifeline.
“Why not?“ Derek asks him.
“I mean, do you see this ridiculousness? What they're saying? What they're thinking?“
“So? It's not real, Stiles. It's just fantasy. Look, I'm going to be blunt here. Is it because I'm gay?“
“No! What?“ Stiles splutters. “Why would you say that?“
“Well, Stiles, because the comments are of a very sexual nature. That's why. And you're freaking out over them.“
Kate observes them silently.
Stiles picks at the loose threads of his pajamas. “I'm not freaking out because of the comments,“ he says quietly.
“Ah,“ Derek smiles, as if he's just realized something important. “Kate, we're going to go now, if that's all. We need to talk in private.“
He offers Stiles his hand. “Coffee?“ Stiles nods and accepts Derek's hand, even though he has no idea why. It's not like he can't get up from the chair on his own. But he's always so... disoriented around Derek.
In the elevator, Derek tells him softly. “Don't be afraid of Kate. She's just a frustrated bitch.“
“Yeah? How so?“
Derek grins at him. “Let's just say she was very disappointed when she found out I was gay. And that she tried really hard to convince me otherwise. She was absolutely positive she could cure me.“
Stiles giggles at that. “Stupid bitch.“
They go to a quiet cafe and sit far away from other patrons. Stiles feels so much better, just being away from Kate and that office. He gets some sweet concoction with tons of syrup and sugar and cream. Derek just gets a large Americano.
“Look,“ Derek starts first. “It's really important to me that you know I couldn't care less about the video. We don't have to film it. I can even delete the one we already did. You know that, don't you, Stiles? And I'm sorry if it's me that's making you uncomfortable.“
Stiles shakes his head. He picks at his nails. Derek is so amazing to him. “I don't care about the videos, too.“
He doesn't. He just wants to kiss Derek. Perhaps if he didn't, he would care. But his desire for Derek has completely obliterated any and all reasonable thinking he might have once had.
“I wasn't sure. Some YouTubers would kill for their videos to go viral.“
Stiles shakes his head again, but he tries to explain it a little better. “I mean, don't get me wrong, who doesn't like to have that many views. I do want to have an audience, just, you know, I want it to be me. To do the things that I like and care about.“
Derek swirls his coffee and looks at Stiles pensively. “What we did, was it something out of character for you? That you don't like?“
“It wasn't my idea, you already know that. But... I liked it,“ Stiles says and smiles, and somehow gathers courage to look at Derek. “I liked filming with you. And... you liked filming with me, right?“
“Whatever gave you that impression,“ Derek jokes. “Was that what freaked you out? That you could tell I liked you?“
Stiles ignores the subtle, but crucial absence of the word 'filming'.
Stiles shakes his head, but he looks Derek directly into his stupid watercolor eyes and tries to will him to understand, to not make him say it.
God, he is so gorgeous. Stiles can't talk about it, but he could maybe show it? Yes. He'll do it. He is the boss, he is the ruler of his life. Stiles isn't blinking, Derek isn't blinking, their eyes locked. Stiles keeps breathing a little choppily and he just leans his head towards Derek's, but gives up half way through. He just can't do it. He looks away and fiddles with his pants.
Derek sighs and smiles at the same time. “Look, Stiles. You're incredibly cute. But if you can't talk about it, then... I'm sorry, I'm just too old for that. If you want to experiment, maybe you should find someone younger, in a similar... situation, perhaps.“
Stiles nods, a little miffed, a little disappointed. But he really can't blame Derek. “Scott says so, too.“
He's grateful that Derek seems to understand his... predicament, though. That's good.
“You told Scott?“ Derek seems genuinely surprised.
“Kind of. I told him that you flirted with me. That you liked me. I didn't tell him that I, you know.“ Stiles swallows a lump. “Liked you back. Although I kind of think he guessed that.“
Derek stays quiet for a while, but he keeps looking at Stiles with this gentle expression in his eyes.
Stiles keeps playing with his straw. “How old are you anyway?“ Stiles asks.
“That's not old.“
“I'm seven years older than you. That's a lot.“
“No, it isn't. My dad was nine years older than my mom.“
Derek leans in. “What are you trying to say here, Stiles?“
Stiles blushes. He has no idea what he is trying to say. It sounds like he's talking Derek into giving him a chance. All he knows is that he likes Derek, a lot. And that he wants to kiss him. And maybe touch him. And that he would love it if Derek would let him try.
Stiles changes the topic. “Let's do another video.“
“I only do food, you know that.“
“I know. Let's do 'what's in my mouth' challenge. We put things into each other's mouth, blindfold, and we have to guess what it is. Whoever gets more correct answers, wins the challenge.“
Derek rolls his eyes. “Sounds a bit juvenile, don't you think?“
“So?“ Stiles juts his chin out. “Are you an ageist? Don't discriminate against youth, Derek.“ When Derek opens his mouth to argue his case, Stiles just plows on. “Or against stupid ideas. Or stupid challenges.“
They keep bouncing ideas off of each other and smile a lot. When Derek walks him back to his apartment, Stiles tries not be too crushed when he doesn't get a kiss, but he spectacularly fails.
They film the video three days later, and even though Stiles goes through several mortifying situations, he somehow survives it. They do it in Stiles' bedroom this time, sitting cross-legged opposite each other, the position Stiles thanks multiple deities for over and over again because it hides all his inappropriate boners perfectly.
On the other hand, he gets soulcrushed several times when he thinks Derek is going to kiss him for sure, but he never does.
He might have cried a little when Derek leaves.
Their second video gets published not a full week after the first one and the internet explodes.
YUM has over ten million views at this point, and TRY ME, which is how Derek dubbed the second one, beats its record and gains two million views in the first 24 hours. #Sterek trends on Twitter and Instagram both worldwide and in the US.
A screenshot from the video where Stiles is blindfold and Derek holds his chin up so that he could slip an oyster into his open mouth becomes a meme and gets plastered over every social media known to man.
Kate organizes a celebration. A party.
Stiles is... bitter. Resentful. And grouchy as hell.
He comes to the party with Scott, and tries not to sulk too much, but he's just upset.
He doesn't get it. He practically offered himself on a platter to Derek. He was absolutely certain that something would happen when they filmed the second video. That Derek would at least kiss him. He spent the entire shoot half hard with occasional excursions to full hardness in his pants, trying to let Derek know he wanted him in all the ways he knew how. He batted his eyelashes, licked his lips, he gave him deep, sultry looks, he rubbed his body whenever he could against Derek. He wore his tightest jeans, he flirted, he talked dirty, he made innuendos and almost sat in his lap at one point. But nothing happened. Nothing. When Derek left and he was finally alone, all miserable and frustrated, he wasn't even able to jerk off like he normally did. He was just too goddamn upset for it.
He gets two glasses of champagne and downs one immediately.
And Derek's not even here now. How stupid is that. He couldn't even come to his own party.
Erica tries to chat him up, but Stiles ignores her. All he can think about now is Derek. He's gay, right? And he likes Stiles, right? So why won't he do anything with him now when it's clear Stiles wants that, too?
He can't stop thinking about it.
He's in the middle of scarfing down another pig in a blanket, when he sees him.
Immediately, the entire room blurs into peripheral vision. Derek. In a nice shirt, and nice pants, and just... Stiles can't swallow his food. He can't take his eyes off of him, either. That's not weird, right? After all, they are the stars of the night.
Derek starts walking straight towards him and Stiles forces the bite down. He chugs the rest of his drink and thankfully doesn't miss the table when he tries to put his glass down without looking because his eyes are on Derek; and just in time, too, because when he reaches Stiles, Derek offers him his hand and smiles. “Will you dance with me?“
Stiles' heart somersaults in his chest.
He is giddy with happiness. This has to mean something, right? A guy doesn't just ask another guy to dance in the middle of a large gathering of people just because he wants to practice his dancing routine.
It means something more. Derek's asking, and especially Stiles' agreeing. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he can list all the meanings, but right now... he just wants to say yes.
The whole room is looking at them at this point, and Stiles knows exactly what they're thinking. Are they or aren't they. Will they or won't they. Are they together? I thought that Stiles was straight. I knew it! Didn't he say a million times that he wasn't gay?
He did. He did. But he didn't know. Sue him.
Stiles puts his hand in Derek's. “Yes.“ He has never been the one to bow down from a challenge.
A nice song is playing in the background, and as they walk together towards the dancing area, Stiles smiles. He stands in front of Derek and doesn't hesitate; he puts his arms around his shoulders, holds him close and just melts into him. They start moving. Derek's body feels amazing against his. They fit together perfectly.
“Did you think I would say no, Mr. Hale?“ Stiles whispers into his neck.
John Legend croons in the background how all of him is all of her and Derek kisses him behind his ear. “I hoped you wouldn't. It'd be a shame.“
Stiles laughs, giddy. “You know, I never would've pegged you for a romantic.“
“I'm usually not. I think I'm romantic only with you.“
Stiles sobers up. He leans back a little so that he can look Derek in the eyes. “Derek. It's probably wrong to say this, but I feel like I'm gay only with you. It's true,“ Stiles says urgently, a bit frantic, as if he expects Derek to contradict him.
He doesn't. He kisses him instead.
Stiles gets his kiss then and there, with Derek holding his head and with the sound of hundreds of flashlights going off.
Stiles' knees buckle and he feels faint, but Derek is holding him firmly so he doesn't fall. It's the best kiss of his life. It feels greater than he imagined.
He doesn't care about the phones and cameras. He wants this epic moment documented. Let them look.
"I mean, I just know that I want you. And that I like you. I-- I want to be with you. And not much else beside that. I'm sorry," he lets his head fall on Derek's shoulder in defeat.
Derek nuzzles him gently with his nose and whispers in his ear. "It's the only thing that matters, really. You have your whole life to figure some things out. And even then, you don't really have to."
This time, Stiles initiates the kiss, and it feels just as great.
When the dance ends, Kate corners them near the buffet. “Great move, guys! Snapchat is exploding right now. Hashtag Sterek.“
“We're going home, Kate,“ Derek says.
“You can't go home now, Derek!“ she snaps.
“You have to wait for the cake! It has fireworks and everything! Your view numbers in pink frosting! You have to cut it. It's going out directly on Snapchat and Instagram.“
“Hashtag fuck off,“ Derek grinds out to Kate's stunned face and pulls Stiles with him.
Still giggling, Stiles runs into the elevator, breathless. “Do you think she'll sack us?“
Derek doesn't reply immediately. He chooses to kiss him again instead, passionately, as if he can't stop himself. “I couldn't care less. But she won't,“ he says when he comes up for air.
Stiles plasters himself against Derek and refuses to let go.
In their Uber, Derek keeps his arm around his shoulders and holds his hand. “Are you nervous?“
Stiles just shakes his head and smiles at him. "I don't think you understand, Derek. I really, really like you. Like... a lot."
He blinks at Derek wetly and Derek squeezes his hand and wipes away his tears with his mouth.
“Why are you so quiet then, it's freaking me out.“ Derek asks.
“Sorry. I'm afraid to speak because I'll probably say something stupid. Like ask you to marry me. Or declare my undying love to you. I'm just so happy. I want you so much. I don't want to chase you away with my... excessive emoting.“
Derek chuckles softly. “Hey, don't be like that. I feel the same, you know.“
Stiles grins at him. “Yeah?“
Derek nods and kisses his hair. "It's a first for me, too." When Stiles looks at him inquisitively, Derek continues. "I've never been with someone I cared so much about before."
What a sap, Stiles thinks happily.
They do stop making videos after a while, but only because the most incredible thing happens – Stiles gets scouted for a major role in a TV show. Teen Wolf. Apparently, some important people saw Stiles' movie skits on YouTube and thought that he was great! How about that, Kate.
His acting career takes off like a rocket. Meanwhile, Derek keeps running his restaurant and when Stiles gets a break after his second movie, Derek asks Stiles to marry him.