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Derek meets him an early Saturday morning.

 

It’s nearing six in the morning and he’s unlocking the coffee shop’s doors, reluctantly ready to start the first shift of the day...and pretty much hang out until he’s no longer needed or until his sisters kick him out. The shop is owned by his uncle, but he’s mostly traveling and, as Cora says, living the life of a single man with a raging midlife crisis, thus leaving all responsibility to them. And since Derek is the one with relatively more time to spare, he tends to do more than his fair share. Like closing most nights and opening every morning. It’s especially cold this morning and his hands are moving as quickly as possible to undo the locks; he’s down to the last one when he hears a voice behind him.

 

And he’s not startled.

 

He isn’t.

 

And he doesn’t jump. Not even a little.

 

“Thank fuck, I could really use some coffee right now.” The guy is only wearing a light jacket and thus shivering almost uncontrollably. Now, Derek isn’t one to easily feel sorry for people, especially clearly stupid people because, come on, it’s late September and who even thinks about leaving their home wearing a denim jacket with just some cotton t-shirt underneath? But he blames his lack of better judgement on the early hour, the cold, his urge to really get inside and get the heater running, and yeah, the guy looks positively hopeless, so Derek can count this as his good deed of the day. Or the week, since he doesn’t remember doing anything particularly selfless this week. Or the previous.

 

The guy follows after him and automatically goes for one of the stools by the bar. Normally no one sits there, unless it’s either Cora or Laura in charge since, well, they’re friendlier and actually attempt to talk to the customers, but whenever it’s Derek, people just stay clear of that area. Laura says he needs to work on his people skills, but he knows they are just fine.

 

He takes a moment to finally start the heater and switches it to a high temperature, at least until the place gets warm enough. By this time normally he’d be taking out the clean dishes from the industrial dishwasher from the back room, getting the dairy products from the main storage to the fresh section under the counter, and restocking whatever they are short of on front, but he has a customer now. And if there is one thing he knows well enough and that he’s learned from his years working at the shop is that one does not leave customers waiting.

 

See, his people skills are just fine.

 

After hanging his coat on the perch and picking up his apron instead, he walks back to the front to take care of his first customer. “What can I get for you?” He sounds gruff, but it isn’t as if he will get increasingly friendlier as the day goes by, in fact right now he’s probably the nicest he’s going to be during the day. He could add a smile, but really, it’s six in the morning.

 

The guy looks unsure for a second and Derek hopes he’s not of the kind that take forever to decide. Or to ask him what he recommends. “A cappuccino. No cinnamon.” Derek nods. “Whenever you’re ready. I’m aware you just opened but yeah, it’s nice and warm here. I don’t mind waiting.” He nods again and then gets ready for his first order...which takes him longer than usual since he still needs to set up the necessary tools and products. He notices they’ve run out of ground coffee, meaning he has to get on that first.The guy truly doesn’t seem to be in a hurry at all. He’s now fiddling with his phone and not paying any attention to him.

 

But still, even though he’s been granted permission to take his time, there is something that makes him uncomfortable about having the guy there, so relatively close, looking up at him every now and then whenever he moves around. Even when the place is full he doesn’t feel this much attention. And after every glance he just feels more pressured.

 

As he sets the machine to start brewing the espresso, Derek risks a look to check if the guy is still looking at him. But he isn’t this time since he’s too busy scrolling through something in his phone, looking very confused. While the coffee finishes dripping, he grabs a milk carton and pours the needed amount into one of the milk foaming jars and then holds it under the steamer.

 

“Aw, man.” Derek looks up, worried that maybe he had done something wrong, like maybe using the wrong milk, to which Derek’s ready to argue that he didn’t specify which milk he wanted, but the guy is still looking down at his phone, now looking rather disappointed. “He said he was going to leave me his number! Crap.” Not talking to him, then. He goes back to foaming the milk and before he’s about to dump it into the mug containing the espresso, the guy speaks up again. “I know hooking up doesn’t necessarily translate into dating or anything of the sort, but seriously couldn’t he at least...I don’t know, given me a fake number to keep my hopes up for a little longer, especially if he planned to so shittily kick me out of his apartment first thing in the morning? Seriously, I don’t think I even slept a second, and next thing I know he’s shoving me my clothes back and really? For all the buttering up he did last night I thought he’d be nicer. Urgh, he even looked like a cuddler and that was something I was really looking forward to.” Derek tries to tune him out as his monologue takes a turn into describing the guy and how hot he was and nice, but apparently not so nice anymore, and Derek hopes he’ll shut up once he hands him his cup, instantly regretting not using a disposable travel cup instead for the guy to take the hint, but no. Derek had to be nice and take into consideration how the guy had appreciated his nice and warm environment. Derek knew he wasn’t nice for a reason.

 

Unfortunately, the drink doesn’t deter him, and after a ‘thanks’ and a quick smile, he launches full force into his monologue again, and when Derek feels he’s headed into TMI territory, he decides he’s had enough of it.  “You know I’m a barista, not a bartender?” And even if he was a bartender, he wouldn’t want to waste his time listening to strangers’ woes and whatnots. Normally he doesn’t have to worry about that ever being the case. Being the grumpy barista has its perks.

 

The guy gives him an unimpressed look. “By all means, feel free to go do whatever you need to do. I’ll just continue talking to myself. Not like you were giving me much input to begin with.” Derek rolls his eyes and leaves for the back room to continue getting the necessary things settled.

 

It takes him a few trips to get things organized, and thankfully the guy decided to actually stick to internal monologue. Derek did spare him a look or two and each time he was just frowning at his phone, as if it’d tell him why his guy turned out to be a royal asshole. Before he can take a seat in front of the cash register, the guy decides that he’s been quiet long enough.

 

“Hey, do you have anything to eat?” He leaves his phone on the counter and grabs the mug instead, bringing it close to his face to take a deep breath.

 

Caffeine junkie.

 

“The baked goods provider doesn’t show until 7.” Hoping that’ll be the end of the conversation, he starts up the register, but no, the guy istalking again.

 

“Why are you even open then?”

 

“People might still want coffee.” Derek gives him a pointed look. Duh.

 

“The Starbucks isn’t too far from here. They have food 24/7.”

 

“We have stuff that was freshly baked in the morning.” And why is he even bothering to argue with him?

 

“But right now you don't.” God.

 

“Well, you’re free to go to Starbucks.”

 

The guy gives him an exaggerated offended look. “You shouldn’t shoo your customers away like that! What would your boss say?”

 

“I’d say, I don’t care.” Not like the guy will know.

 

“Ohh, you are the boss. Then, word of advice? You might want to work on the grumpy barista. His crabbiness and judgmental eyebrows are bound to scare people off.”

 

“Crabby, really?” He hasn’t been called that since elementary school. “Then why are you still here?”

 

“Dude, didn’t you hear a word I said before?”

 

“Sadly, I did.” Another unimpressed look and really, it’s too early to be getting so many of those from a total stranger. “So why can’t you just go home? That’s what I’d do.” Not that he’s talking from experience since he isn’t big on sleeping around. He never was, and he certainly hasn’t done it in quite some time now, but he guesses that if he ever did find himself in such situation, heading home would be his first choice. Not loitering around in a recently opened coffee shop, pestering a barista that clearly doesn’t want to have anything to do with him.

 

“Well, my roommate’s mom is staying in my room for the night...I could’ve gone back and crashed in the living room, but eh. Too many questions then. I told her I’d have a ‘date’.” The guy rolls his eyes. “She’s good friends with my dad. He doesn’t need to know about my sleeping habits, no matter how close we are.”

 

“So, you were pretty certain you wouldn’t be going home last night.” Derek nearly kicks himself for attempting to keep the conversation going. He should’ve just nodded and then left again for the back room, surely that is a safer environment for crabby baristas as himself.

 

“Yup.” He manages to look smug for a second, but then confusion takes over. “Still don’t know what people see in me, but something seems to work.”

 

“I’m at a loss as well. You talk too much.” And there’s the unimpressed look again. “And you do that too much.”

 

“Dude, that’s your fault. I’m all smiles and endearingly bad jokes, you’re ruining me. Seriously, a little niceness would go a long way.”

 

And now he’s offended because, he’s been nice all along. Nice is what got him where he is right now and, damn, he’s still regretting it. “I can be nice.”

 

“Oh really? Well, let’s see it.” He gives Derek and expectant look and well, clearly what he’s done so far doesn’t even get near to ‘nice’ in the guy’s book, so maybe he’ll have to push a little further. And if this isn't proof of his perfectly working people skills, then goddamnit. He switches on the oven to preheat and walks to the back room. “Yes, perfect. You leaving that...that is nice enough, man. Yes, you know how to be nice, I was so, so wrong.” Derek wants to snap right at him, but seriously, he’s a grown-up and knows how to behave...plus he wants to see his face when he sees the two croissants he just pulled from the fridge. They’re from the day before, but still perfectly edible. After all, he was going to eat them. “Uh, you said there wasn’t any food?” He looks surprised for a second, but after Derek shoves them into the oven and taps in the warming time, he narrows his eyes at him. “Keeping food from the starving guy is nice in your terms?”

 

Obviously. Derek rolls his eyes. “We have this policy of only selling stuff that’s been brought in in the morning, we had some stuff left from yesterday.”

 

The guy doesn’t look too convinced. “Uh, great. So hey, how much do I owe you?” He shifts on his seat to pull out his wallet from his back pocket.

 

“Nothing. We only sell fresh things.”

 

“If you weren’t your boss I’d say that’s an awesome way to go around the rules. Well, it still is. And uh...that is nice, thanks.”

 

The oven beeps and he grabs a pair of tongs to pull the croissants out. “Sure,” he says as he places the plate in front of him. “Butter?”

 

“That’d be awesome.”

 

If he’d known that giving the guy food would actually keep him quiet (to be honest he was expecting a run-on commentary on how awesome the croissants are, he’s had them before and god) he’d have offered them sooner. The guy is a relatively slow eater, especially since he keeps checking his phone, still frowning at it as if it had been part of the betrayal. Derek ignores him then, for once being able to mind his business.

 

From experience he knows that people won’t show up until way after seven, so he does everything at a leisure pace. He knows Cora was in charge of closing the night before and thus he isn’t surprised that she didn’t clean the tables or vacuumed the few armchairs they have. There are crumbs all over and she’s in for hell when she turns up today.

 

Unless she has an excuse. Which she’ll also most likely have. And because he lets her get away with almost everything for being the baby (he’s a big pushover, but Derek doesn’t want to flat out admit it) of their limited family, he won’t lecture her.

 

“I have to vacuum, I hope you don’t mind.” He’s not really asking him, since well, if the guy does mind he’s still going to do it. Yeah, his ‘nice’ streak has run out.

 

“Sure, go ahead, dude.”

 

He decides against grumbling a ‘don’t call me dude’ because he knows that’ll only start another annoying conversation. And hopefully the guy is done with conversations and will leave soon. A look at his plate and Derek sees he’s almost done with the second croissant.

 

But after he’s done cleaning, the guy is still sitting on the bar stool. His plate empty, and still playing with his phone. Well, Derek can tell he’s texting now since his thumbs are frantically tapping on the screen.

 

“Hey, can I get another one?” He points at his mug and well, who is Derek to say no to a customer.

 

For a moment he considers using a disposable cup this time, but he feels that the guy won’t take the hint anyway.

 

At seven sharp Boyd and Erica walk in, carrying boxes of baked goods. Boyd just nods at him on his way to the back room, while Erica actually takes a second to eye at the guy and then gives Derek a suggestive eyebrow rise.

 

“How are you this fine morning, Derek?” She offers him one of her trademark deranged morning people smirk before placing the box on the counter. “I have some new samples for you to give away. Like usual, tell me how people like them. They’re a mix of chocolate chip and oatmeal...I kinda screwed with the ratios when modifying the recipe for it to yield more than just a one dozen batch and also somehow they ended up being huge. I wanted them to be bite sized, but yeah, they grew.” She pulls off the lid of a tupperware container and offers the container to Derek, prompting him to take one. “Go on….you too.” Then she turns to the guy and shakes the container in front of him until he finally takes one. “Now...feedback.”

 

The guy is first to take a bite and Erica’s full attention is on him...then the guy’s face turns sour and brings his hand to his mouth and Erica is close to losing it. “Kidding! They’re pretty good.” Derek snorts as Erica punches the guy on the shoulder, which only prompts the guy to start laughing.

 

“Asshole. Derek?”

 

He takes a bite and nods. They’re sweet and the combination of oatmeal and chocolate chips is actually quite good. “I’ll put them on a plate and tell Cora to make a free cookies sign. Anything else?”

 

“No, but these are the things for the displays here,” she says as she pats the box on the counter. “I’ll go help Boyd in the back, and you should be a darling and make me an americano and one of those herbal teas for Boyd.” Derek notices from the corner of his eye that the guy has stood up and is currently picking up his jacket. “I think he’s feeling some of that hibiscus blend."

 

The guy waves a hand at Erica to get her attention. “Can I have another free cookie? I’ll save it for when I get home after freezing my ass off out there.” He throws back the coffee that’s left in his cup and then starts putting on his stiff jean jacket. “Oh hey, how much do I owe you? For the cappuccinos? You’re a goddess, thanks,” he says when Erica hands him three cookies in one of the to-go bags.

 

Derek doesn’t know what drives him to do it, but he just shrugs. “Don’t worry about them.” The guy smiles and Erica smiles.

 

He should’ve known this translated closely to signing a death sentence.

 


 

It becomes some sort of routine. Every Saturday morning during opening hour, Derek would have the guy coming in or already waiting by the locked doors. Always for the same reasons, one-night stand kicking him out, jealous boyfriend making him flee (only happened once, but Derek can still remember how Stiles had begged him to let him hide behind the counter for a couple hours, which earned him very amused looks from Erica), or just because he woke early enough to avoid the awkward morning after if the guy was a shitty lay.

 

His stories sometimes sound too ridiculous, way exaggerated but in more than one occasion Derek has had to try really hard to not laugh. Sometimes he allows himself to smile and that makes the guy look annoyingly smug.

 

At some point he learns that his name is Stiles.

 


 

“A dick pic!” Stiles looks so done and Derek would maybe feel a little sympathy for him if he didn’t just shove his phone into his face and yes, dick pic alright. “God, I have to stop giving guys my phone for them to enter their numbers. It’s not even his dick!”

 

And Derek really doesn’t want to know but Stiles seems about ready to let it all out and begin a shit storm, so he quickly pulls out a tupperware container of cookies that Erica brought the day before from under the counter and doesn’t bother to serve a couple on a plate and just shoves the whole thing at Stiles.

 

At least that gets Stiles to shut up. “Der, you’re a fucking keeper.”

 

Yeah, now he’s definitely not getting rid of Stiles.

 


 

But one Saturday Stiles is a no-show.

 

Well, not all his hook-ups had to be that bad.

 

Derek tries to bask in the quiet he’s no longer used to having in the slow Saturday mornings, and as he makes himself a cappuccino (why, he isn’t particularly fond of milk in his coffee), he tells himself that he doesn’t miss Stiles’ ridiculous stories or even the sound of his voice.

 

He also tells himself that he isn’t jealous.

 

Because why would he be jealous.

 


 

Another Saturday.

 

No Stiles.

 

Erica just shakes her head, muttering something about missed chances.

 


 

Derek isn’t relieved when Stiles walks through the door ten minutes after opening that Saturday.

 

He isn’t.

 

“Missed me, Der?” He asks as he removes his denim jacket and drapes it over the countertop as he usually does. It’s late January and very much freezing, but Stiles doesn’t take that as a hint to get dressed more weather accordingly.

 

“Hook-ups gone right?”

 

“Man, I wish. I was bed-ridden with the worst cold/bronchitis/whatever ever. Scott wouldn’t let me out.” And why isn’t he surprised. Derek considers lecturing him on how he should wear a real coat, but he’s sure he’d would sound like a nagging mother. “I’m still not 100%, but come on, Derek. A boy’s gotta eat.” Stiles wriggles his eyebrows suggestively.

 

“Don’t wanna know.”

 

“One day you’ll hear all about it. Be glad we’re still testing friends territory because once you reach bro-zone, there’s no going back, dude. Scott has no other choice but hear it all and even offer advice.” Derek gives him a withering look and moves to prepare Stiles’ usual order.

 

“So...you got thrown out again?” At this point he was beyond reprimanding himself for prompting Stiles to talk because he knows Stiles will anyway and he still has the delusion that the quicker Stiles is done narrating his hook-up adventures, the sooner he’ll be out of Derek’s hair.

 

“Uh...you could say so.” He shrugs as he starts playing with the sleeve of his jacket. “The guy’s teenage daughter kicked me out.”

 

“That’s...new.”

 

He nods as he brings his hands to his face. “He had a dreamy apartment, I bet he had a nice bed,” he says as he rubs his eyes. “We just made it to the living room and we…” Derek gives him a warning look before he even attempts giving him details. “...we ended up falling asleep there. And then bam! The girl walks in, just coming back from her own party. I felt really shitty on my way out.”

 

That’s also new. Stiles actually looks upset about it, and not in the way he normally is when a hook-up turns sour. “You’ve slept with a married man before.” Stiles grimaces and fine, Derek knows it wasn’t the best thing to say at the moment. “Uh, unknowingly,” he tries to make up, but Stiles shakes his head.

 

“Well, he said he was divorced. He was pretty explicit on how he just wanted some fun and sure.” He shrugs. “But when I left, I couldn’t help but put myself in her shoes. How I’d totally hate to see my dad with another person...like that. Like, I’m not stupid to think my dad was meant to only be with my mom and that after she died he has to be alone until the end of time, but, I don't know, I’d find it really upsetting to have the fact that he can see other people thrown in my face just like that, first thing in the morning.”

 

It’s just so much information that Derek doesn’t know how to reply, especially because he has a feeling this is actually personal in Stiles’ terms. And he feels terrible as the seconds drag on and he remains quiet, just staring at Stiles as he traces patterns with his fingers on the marble countertop, basically emanating vibes of misery. “I’m sorry about your mom.” It’s the only thing he can come up with, if only because it’s the one thing he can relate to. But it sounds just as awful as when other people have said it to him, and he can only hope that Stiles won’t react as badly as he does when people say they’re sorry about either of his parents’ deaths.

 

Instead, he shrugs. “It’s been a while.”

 

“It’s not like it gets any easier anyway.” Stiles looks up at him and seems to understand he isn’t just saying that to show sympathy, but rather to empathize with him. He nods in response and Derek is grateful that he doesn’t ask about it.

 

Stiles resumes his moping while Derek finishes with his drink. He feels the urge to maybe do one of those ridiculous designs with the foam, but he’s never been good at that. The more reason to cheer Stiles up.

 

In the end he just dumps the large clumps of foam into the cup.

 

Stiles lets out a deep sigh. “I feel like I need some candy to drown the misery. I’ve become my worst nightmare. How’s that?”

 

“I’ll make you some hot chocolate then.”

 

“But…” He points to the cappuccino he has just finished making. “I was thinking more along the lines of adding sugar to it.” He grimaces and yeah, Derek doesn’t think so.

 

“I’ve grown to stand milk in my coffee.” He opens one of the compartments from under the counter and pulls out the jar of bite sized cookies, glad to see that Cora refilled it the night before and that she chose chocolate chips. “Here. While you wait.”

 

“Aww, Der. Why am I wasting my time with those guys out there when I have you to feed me cookies and pastries and hot chocolate? You perfect man.” And he stuffs three of them in his mouth.

 

“Hardly. I’ll get some whipped cream.”

 

“Marry me.” Derek rolls his eyes. Along with the cream, he gets some breakfast for himself, since he’s sure Stiles will be just fine with the entire jar. “I can marry you, and Erica...and I guess Boyd too since they’re a package deal. Then my life will be made.”

 

“Sure. Let me know when polygamy is no longer illegal and I’ll sign the papers.” Stiles snorts as he pulls another bunch of cookies from the jar. The little smile that had been playing on his lips begins to fade and he falls into another round of misery. It’s strange to see Stiles like this, lost in his own, quiet thoughts while munching on a tiny cookie. “Better luck next time, I guess?” He’s not good at comforting, that is a flaw he’s not afraid to admit about his people skills, and he tries to appear fully focused on the making of the chocolate, even if he’s sure he can single handedly make it. And with his eyes closed.

 

“It’s always about luck in my case.” And he knows this is the moment where he should say nooo and tell him about how much of a great guy he is and how anyone would be lucky to have him. But even in his mind it sounds ridiculous, overused and downright lame, so he continues to mix the milk and cocoa, allowing Stiles to keep simmering in his own self deprecation. Damnit, Derek. “It’s sad, you know. I can’t find him. I can’t find the right for me. I can’t...it’s always for just one night. Just a guy that wants to fuck, and I agree, hoping something will come out of it. But they never want me to stay, or just don’t care if I stay or not. Why is it so hard to be wanted?”

 

“Just give it more time.” Again, really helpful, Derek.

 

Stiles takes a deep breath and then slowly sighs. “You know, when I was in high school I always worried that people wouldn’t look at me twice. I was scared I’d die a virgin and alone or, well, living in Scott’s basement because he wouldn’t leave me to be all alone, which is pathetic, right?” Derek doesn’t respond because he knows it was rhetorical, but he can’t help the grimace. “But after I started sleeping around I was just...relieved, you know? I felt like I still had a chance. Like I could make it! But nope.”

 

“Perhaps clubs aren’t the right place to find that right person?” Now he feels he said the right thing, yes. Although maybe pointing out the error of his ways isn’t the best idea. Why does Stiles feel he is the right person to have this talk with?

 

“Urgh, I know.” Shit, now he looks irritated. Derek starts putting the whipped cream on the drink, hoping that the generous amount will help Stiles forget how much crap he is at these conversations. But still really good at making drinks. “But where am I supposed to look then? College wasn’t it. People at work are fine but just not...right. Like, getting along isn’t just everything there is. Then at clubs I somehow land incredibly hot guys. Like, your caliber of hot. But they’re seriously the type of guys that wouldn’t give me the time of day outside a club. So, in the end...I just don’t know. Of course, being attractive is just a plus, I’m not that shallow. But I feel there’s something missing anyway. I know I joke about it, but I am tired of hooking up. I want to get to know someone to do things that aren’t just sex. Someone I can do mundane stuff like...fuck, grocery shopping. Staying in bed all day. Spending a thursday afternoon on the couch, watching a movie. Domestic stuff. Urgh.” He lets out a big sigh and pops another cookie into his mouth. “What about you, Derek?” He makes grabby hands for the mug of hot chocolate that he has momentarily forgotten about.

 

“What about me.”

 

“I always tell you about my love life struggles and dramas and whatnot. Do you have any struggles? Are you already settled down with a nice girlfriend or boyfriend? See! I don’t even know that! Hell, are you married?”

 

He should’ve seen this coming. For all that Stiles like to talk, he should’ve known that Stiles would just ask him things. Personal things. And of course the first personal thing he has to ask about is that, the thing he’s least comfortable talking about. His fucking nonexistent love life. But he guesses he owes it to Stiles after all the endless talks for over three months. “No...to all. I’m single and I like it that way.”

 

Stiles picks some whipped cream with his finger. “Dude, really? You want it to be just you for the rest of your life?” He starts licking his finger clean and Derek knows he has to keep his eyes on Stiles’ face. And not his mouth. Or his strangely alluring fingers that he never truly noticed, even if he’s seen Stiles playing with his phone plenty of times.

 

“I wouldn’t mind. In the end there’s always my sisters and even my uncle if I get too lonely. I like them alright, even if they’re always trying to set me up with people. They just don’t understand that isn’t a priority of mine.”

 

Stiles just stares at him for a couple of seconds and analyzes him. Then Derek realizes he crossed his arms at some point and everything about his current posture screams ‘defensive’. “So.” Of course Stiles is not backing out and changing subject. He picks up his mug and takes a long sip, dragging the moment for dramatic purposes. But Derek doubts the blissed out expression wasn’t part of Stiles’ interrogation tactic. “Then you can say you’re perfectly happy with where you are right now.” Derek is a pretty accomplished liar, but he doubts he’d manage to make a ‘yes’ sound believable in that moment. “See? You’re not.”

 

“I’m not happy, but I’m content with how things are.” That’s a more convincing lie. It’s worked on his sisters a few times in the past.

 

“You’ve just given up!”

 

Derek sighs. He sounds just like Cora when she’s calling him out on his bullshit. “I just don’t feel it’s a good idea to let my happiness depend on somebody else.” And that’s starting to sound more like the truth. If it works on Stiles then maybe he should try it with his sisters when the dating topic comes up. “Then they’re gone and what. What are you supposed to do?”

 

“Then you go out there and do it all over again.”

 

“It’s not worth it.” He tries to shrug it off but his voice sounds too serious and it’s highly likely that Stiles will know that he’s talking from experience.

 

“Wanna talk about it?”

 

“No.”

 

“Is it the type of conversation you’re supposed to have over heavy drinks?”

 

“Maybe.” Because he really wouldn’t openly talk about how shitty his love life has always been, how his last relationship really was the cherry on top, and how extricating himself from the dating scene has been the best decision in his life so far.

 

“Then how about you and I go out tonight?” He’s about to protest, but Stiles quickly puts his hands up to stop him from talking. “No clubs, we can go to a bar. Or my place! Cheaper drinks, easy access to a clean bathroom and if you need to crash, the couch is always available.”

 

“Um, I don’t know.” Because well, he may know Stiles for a little over three months but it’s not like him to just go to strangers’ houses for drinks. Because Stiles still is a stranger to him even if he knows way too much about his personal life. And besides, he’s 99% sure they’ll talk. About things he’s not comfortable talking about. Like the current topic but in depth. It’s a terrible idea.

 

“Come on. What were you planning to do tonight? Do you ever even have plans?” And he’s starting to sound a little like his sisters when they meanly rope him into closing and opening the shop when it’s their turn. He narrows his eyes at him. “Just drinks, and hell, I’ll be nice and all and the drinks will be on me since you always give me free coffee. I’ll have to go shopping so, anything you prefer?”

 

“Beer is fine.”

 

“Nuh-huh, we’re going heavy. Vodka, tequila, rum...?”

 

“Anything but vodka.”

 

“Sweet. Can I have a pen and something to write on?” He nods and hands him one of the disposable cups and a marker from the counter. “Now...don’t lose this. Otherwise I’ll come down here at eight and ask where you live and then drag you out of your hermit hole and to my place.”

 

“I’m not a hermit.”

 

“Close enough.” He downs what’s left in his mug and then gets up. “Well, I have to get going. I have some work to do and then I guess I’ll have Scott help me clean up. It’s been war zone for a couple weeks now.”

 

“You know you don’t have to…” Just in that moment both his sisters walk in and why, they never come in this early. But then he remembers. Laura wanted to do breakfast this morning, she had told him before leaving the day before. And he can see it in their eyes; Derek easily interacting with a customer is not something they’ll quickly overlook.

 

“We have to clean and this is a good excuse,” Stiles dismisses him and then turns to wave at his sisters, who have these conspirational little smiles and Derek knows he is screwed. “You’re not getting out of this, dude!” He nearly runs out the door, saying ‘bye’ to his sisters.

 

Dude?” Cora gives him an amused look and then points at the door. “Who was that?”

 

“He’s just...a friend, I suppose.” Hesitation. Bad, Derek.

 

“And what aren’t you getting out of? His pants?” Laura gives Cora a disapproving look, but Derek can tell she’s just laughing inside.

 

“No. I agreed to have drinks with him tonight,” he says, trying to make it sound like it’s not a big deal, even if drinks with friends he’s had for nearly the last three decades is a rare occurrence. That already is a big deal whenever it happens.

 

“That is so cute! I am so proud of you for making friends.” Laura ruffles his hair before walking into the back room to grab some leftovers from the previous day. And that is why Laura is his favorite.

 

Friends,” Cora emphasizes as she follows her sister. And that is why Cora is his absolute least favorite.

 

This is ridiculous. “He is a friend. Why are you two here so early anyway?”

 

“Breakfast! Thankfully we didn’t interrupt your meeting with your friend, right?”

 

“Stop.”

 

“Then stop getting so worked up over it.”

 

He takes a deep breath, that’s right. It’s only good natured teasing, no need to get irritated over it. Besides, he knows they’ll be a hundred times worse tomorrow when they ask how things went. When he tells them how he was such terrible company that Stiles may start considering spending his early mornings at Starbucks instead.

 

His eyes land on the untouched cappuccino mug and hopes it’s still warm enough to drink.

 


 

Derek double checks the number on the door, although there is no mistaking that 504 from the disposable cup, but before his knuckles make it to the hard wood, the door opens and...that is not Stiles.

 

“...you’re Derek?” He nods and pretends to not be intimidated by the very thorough and in no way subtle once-over. He’s certain this is the Scott that Stiles mentions every now and then, although he believes that Stiles was overplaying how he’s like ‘a  huge puppy’, because he knows the crossed arms and calculating glare stance. It’s what he does whenever he wants to scare off guys that stare at his sisters for a little too long. “You’re early. Stiles said you’d be here around eight and...dude, it’s just seven forty.”

 

Again with the dude. “I’d rather be early than late.” Perhaps he could’ve waited outside the building for longer. Twenty minutes early is too much, even for him.

 

“Well, problem is...I’m on my way out and Stiles just got in the shower. It’d be rude to leave you waiting out here.”

 

“I can wait here if you find it inappropriate for me to be inside. I understand you wouldn’t want a stranger in your apartment.”

 

Scott gives him another assessing once-over before completely deflating, a huge smile replacing his scowl. “Dude, I’m totally kidding! Come on in.” Derek wants to protest, but Scott pats him on the shoulder, urging him to come inside. Fine, maybe Scott is like a huge puppy since he now does seem very excited to have him in the apartment. “I’m Scott, by the way. But knowing Stiles you probably already know that. And more. Anyway, make yourself comfortable. Help yourself to anything in the kitchen. Stiles really wasn’t messing around when he went grocery shopping this morning. I’ve never seen the pantry this well supplied.”

 

“Uh, thanks. I’ll just...wait here.” Scott nods and without any further words but a very enthusiastic wave, he leaves. Now that everything is quiet he can hear a very low humming coming from the shower. The apartment is quite small; one big open space for the living room and kitchen and the three doors in the far end of the room, the one in the middle being the bathroom’s since it’s the only one that’s closed.

 

He looks back at the kitchen and the first thing he notices are the bottles of alcohol, but he doesn’t think it’d be polite to start drinking without Stiles. Besides, he doesn’t intend to get drunk. Maybe just have a few drinks to amuse Stiles and done.

 

Instead, Derek just finds a place on the couch to sit on. Everything is relatively tidy, actually,  extremely tidy for it to be the apartment of two guys in their early twenties that enjoy gaming a little too much. Although from his spot he can see a crumpled chips bag under the armchair that they missed in their extreme clean-up.

 

He starts tapping his feet against the carpeted floor and after each second that passes, he thinks of the many things that could go wrong. Him being there is like a huge go ahead for Stiles to ask away about anything, and while he knows he can just not answer, Stiles will just try to keep a conversation going. And push. Like friends do. Because as much as he wants to deny it they are sort of friends.

 

And his friend is currently doing a very terrible rendition of Deep Purple’s Smoke On the Water while in the shower.

 

He rolls his eyes and pulls out his phone, hoping Cora will feel like distracting him for a while, otherwise he’ll start to seriously consider the idea of fleeing.

 

I’m too early

 

of course you are, you time freak!

 

Derek rolls his eyes. Obviously he texted the wrong sister. But interrupting Laura when she’s out with her boyfriend didn’t sound like a good thing to do.

 

what’s he doing? getting ready? maybe you should just tell him to not bother and just get things going ;)

 

He’s in the shower

 

EVEN BETTER!

 

i bet he’ll come out with just a towel on, he’ll see you and then drop it. and be all oops! ;)

 

He considers that scenario for a moment.

 

You’ll be really sorry if that happens

 

just have fun bro. it’s been a while

 

He’ll pretend she’s being sincere, even if he really can’t tell through texts.

 

The water stops, but Stiles is still singing.

 

Derek grimaces. Now without the sound of the water his singing sounds way worse. Although he’ll give him points for knowing some of the lyrics and not just repeating the name of the song over and over, followed by dun dun dunnn dun dun dundunnn.

 

And when the door opens, Derek is relieved to see that Stiles isn’t wearing just a towel. If only because he isn’t sure fleeing would be the first thing he’d do were Stiles naked in front of him. Giving him an inviting look.

 

He needs to get that image out of his head.

 

Especially since it has nothing to do with the current reality.

 

“Shit! You’re...here! Hi! Oh, god, I’m glad I took my clothes with me and that I didn’t do anything inappropriate in there. Hah, that would’ve been awkward!” Talking about inappropriate images that Derek needs to get out of his head. Derek can tell how Stiles realizes he’s positively screwed up at not making things awkward. More awkward than they already were, actually. “Uh, right. So...drinks? I got some decent whiskey and tequila. Got some chips and popcorn and stuff of that sort and...yeah. I’ll go get some socks, just think of what you want!” He scurries to the door on the right and closes the door after him.

 

This is going to be awkward.

 

And maybe it isn’t too late to flee...

 

He eyes the bottles on the kitchen counter and well, maybe all he needs is a few drinks. Yes, just a couple shots and he’ll be able to talk to Stiles about anything. And get to know each other. Like friends normally do. Because they are friends.

 


 

Actually, they’re bros.

 

Stiles words, of course.

 

Somehow they almost go through the first bottle of tequila and for some reason, Derek agrees when Stiles grabs a second one for when they finish with the current one. At some point during the first bottle Derek felt buzzed enough to just start talking about Kate. He doesn’t think he’s ever spoken for so long (only taking two pauses to down shots, what, his throat was feeling raspy), not bothering to filter out any information that he hasn’t even told his own sisters and even goes detail after detail about how he planned to propose to her, got her the perfect ring and how she had said yes and he felt like the happiest, luckiest man on earth. And how two days later she was gone. His sisters thought it had only been a bad break-up; Derek told himself it was for the best, even if deep down he knew it was because it was embarrassing to admit she had just used him.

 

And if there’s anyone else that knows about being played by other people, well that is Stiles. “So, she just took off?” Stiles asks as he fills up his shot glass with what’s left of the bottle. “Ring and everything?”

 

“A ridiculously expensive ring, custom made and everything. And all the expensive gifts I ever gave her...which apparently were a lot, judging by how empty our apartment was afterwards. I don’t know what I was thinking. She just vanished.”

 

“She got you good. And you don’t seem like the easily trusting kind of guy, it must've really done a number on you and...sorry.” He offers him his shot glass as a peace offering.

 

But Stiles is right; he’d never been one to easily trust others. But with Kate he had felt she was different, and after almost two years, almost three, of being together the idea of not trusting her never crossed his mind. “She got me good.” He concedes as he downs the offered shot. “I felt like a total fool. It was then that I realized all those little things like...how I never met anyone from her family, other than her brother. Or how she didn’t really look like she was related to him at all. Or how they seemed awfully close...even for siblings.”

 

“That really sucks.”

 

Derek snorts. “Thanks for your thorough insight.” He feels strangely light now that he’s had all that off his chest, so much better. He looks over at Stiles, who had chosen to sit on the coffee table when he started out with his monologue about his shitty relationships, and smiles at him. “Really, thanks.” And he means it.

 

“Dude, you just had the shittiest luck ever. Like, shit like that happens only in movies. They have all these shitty things happen to their main, kill everyone and their dog because, dude, nothing hurts more than the dog dying.” Derek doesn’t tell him how that accurately describes his life. That’s a story for another night. With even more drinks. “But eventually things get better! Like in rom coms.”

 

“Only I’m not seeing much comedy.” And that is a fact. His life has been nothing but dull for the past three years. “Besides, if this was a rom com then that special someone that’ll show me how to love again should be walking into my life right about now.” Because really, three years.

 

Stiles spreads his arms wide open and gives him a ‘duh’ look. Derek doesn’t think he’s laughed so hard in a while. “Aw, come on! I can totally fill that role,” he says as he quickly moves to the couch, dropping really close to where Derek is sitting. “I’m the quirky, average looking, good guy. I can totally mend your broken heart.” And Stiles poking at his chest with his index finger is completely unnecessary. Also, ouch.

 

“If by quirky you mean annoying and by good guy you mean asshole, sure.”

 

“No comment on my looks?” He asks, obnoxiously batting his eyelashes at him.

 

“Unconventional looks.”

 

“Is this an ambiguous way to say ugly?”

 

“No, actually...strangely attractive.” And the moment Stiles’ look turns smug, he regrets his words.

 

“So I have a you-don’t-know-what that gets you hot?” He’s not going to admit how accurate that is either.

 

“I’m not getting hot.” Which is a gigantic lie. But Stiles is drunk enough to believe that without questioning him.

 

“Right. Girls only, right? Well, let me tell you...I look quite well in a dress. And other...pieces of clothing.”

 

“Don’t wanna know.”

 

“Spoilsport. I was about to offer you a show, but since you seem so against it…” He grabs the new bottle and begins removing the plastic cap protector.

 

“It’s not really my thing.” He shrugs. “And by that I just mean the crossdressing.”

 

“Oh.” And three seconds later, “Ohh. So...you...?” He puts the bottle down.

 

“Sure.”

 

“Well, that...that’d increase the number of candidates for your rom com character. Damn, I can’t with all the competition.” He dramatically sags against the couch cushions.

 

“And I’m overwhelmed by the number. So I’d rather not.”

 

“How modest. I’m Derek, I’m super hot and tons of people would die to get in my pants. But it’s so hard to choose, oh what to dooo?” Derek grabs one of the couch pillows and smacks him on the face with it.

 

“Well, first off.” Stiles takes the pillow away from his hands and keeps it away from his reach. “I don’t care about people that just want in my pants.”

 

“But, dude, it must be so easy for you to pick up people. Like, what. You just need to say hi? It takes me like half an hour of dancing to get a guy to notice me.”

 

“I don’t know. I haven’t hooked up with anyone in some time.”

 

“How long is some time?”

 

“A couple years?”

 

What?” He wasn’t expecting Stiles to be that surprised.

 

“I’m not interested.”

 

“God, I was so wrong. You are not a hermit, you're a freaking monk. When was the last time you got some?” That is a question he really doesn’t know the answer to. But he knows that was with Kate, so, long ago for sure. “Oh my god, something is really wrong in the world if someone like me is getting more than someone like you.”

 

“I don’t need anyone else.” Stiles rolls his eyes.

 

“Just you and your hand?”

 

“Yes. No disappointment there or fear of being abandoned.” Derek knows he’s had enough to drink now; he’s not even embarrassed anymore.

 

“Aw, Derek. You really need to find that someone that’ll show you how to love again because that is just sad. And a total waste! You’re smoking and you’re actually a very decent human being. Hard working and caring and everything. You sound like a catch to me.”

 

“There are plenty of better people out there. Way nicer. You meet nice guys every weekend.”

 

“Dude, they’re douchebags and they kick me out every morning. And don’t even have decency to tell me they already have a boyfriend. Or girlfriend. Or even have the nerve to say ‘oh, I just wanted to see what it was like being with a guy’ and I just...gah!”

 

“Someone’s actually said that?” And it’s impossible to not find Stiles’ frustration amusing.

 

“Yes! Then he actually went all  ‘yeahh...I don’t think that’s my thing’, like, dude. You had my dick down your throat and pretty much loved choking on it. And stop laughing!” Now he’s the one hitting him with a pillow. “I mean. Can straight guys even deepthroat? Can they?”

 

“I really don’t know how to answer that.”

 

“Because you actually aren’t straight and oh my god, can you deepthroat? No, wait! Don’t answer that. God, Derek. I can’t with all the things I’m learning about you today.” He starts squeezing the life out of the pillow. “And you are seriously not doing anyone a favor by staying all locked up and grumpy...is being grumpy a defense mechanism?”

 

“Works every time. Well, most of the time.” Derek gives him a pointed look and Stiles has the gall to look proud of himself. “Your life sounds like a rom com alright, you know?”

 

“But of course. Serial hook-uper, never dating material. Ends up with twenty cats, hoarder extraordinaire, living with his best friend and his wife and kids. Becomes the crazy uncle.”

 

“And you can't meet your quirky, average looking, good guy?”

 

“No, because that is me and I can’t end up with someone like myself! I need ridiculously hot and charming, rich, hunk guy. Prince of somewhere or hot celebrity.”

 

Derek gives him a long unimpressed look, much like the ones Stiles used to give him when they first met. “No wonder finding the right one is taking so long.”

 

“I don’t need it all, Derek.”

 

“Well then...here I am.”

 

“Gee, you don’t need to be that excited.” Stiles gives him an assessing look. “So, you’re a prince?”

 

“Seriously?”

 

“I don’t know...grumpy barista by day, prince charming by night, wooing unknowing innocent maidens into temptation with suggestive eyebrow movements, and befriending creatures of the night? Because you don’t look the type that walks into the forest and sings with birds and plays with squirrels. More like the type that hangs with the creepy, badass creatures.”

 

“I thought you thought I was a hermit? Sorry, monk?”

 

“I could be sorely mistaken.” He crosses his arms over his chest and gives him a serious look. “So, are you?”

 

This is ridiculous. Why is he bros with someone so ridiculous? “No. Grumpy barista by day, grumpy hermit by night.”

 

“So, you only fit the ridiculously hot bit. And hunk.” He wants to fight for the ‘charming’ bit too, but he’s sure Stiles will slam him so hard for even trying.

 

“I’m rich.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Well, I can buy expensive engagement rings and apparently a lot of presents and mourn the loss of the girl rather than the money’s.” Derek is going to mark ‘joking about his shitty situation’ as progress.

 

Stiles considers that for a moment. “Close enough. So, you’re the guy for me, and I’m the guy for you. How awesome is that?!”

 

“I feel like I got the short end here.” Stiles snorts and moves in his seat, once again turning to face him and thus being extremely close to Derek. To his face especially.

 

Derek is smiling, and he’s not even sure how or why, but it’s not like he can just not do it. Stiles for his part has this ridiculous smile on, if Derek thinks about it maybe his own smile is just as ridiculous, and his eyes are just sparkling and he has that...like Stiles said, that he-doesn’t-know-what that gets him hot.

 

Strangely attractive now verging on strangely irresistible.

 

“Dude, you totally did.” His eyes drift momentarily to Stiles’ lips, just in time to see him suck in his bottom lip. If there’s such thing as a cue to just fucking kiss someone, this definitely is the one. Derek doesn’t get to look at Stiles in the eyes again because he’s moved even closer, not waiting to finally press his lips to Derek’s. As an afterthought, he follows Stiles’ example and closes his eyes, to just get acquainted with the presence of Stiles. He’s lightly brushing his lips against his, maybe hesitantly, but at least Stiles doesn’t stop. Derek tries to reassure him by putting his hand on the back of Stiles’ head, showing him that yes, this is where he wants him. But Stiles pulls away nonetheless. “Yes, I’m definitely the one winning here. Seriously, a couple of years without getting any and you pick me? I am so judging you.”

 

“God, just shut up already.” Derek pulls him in for another kiss and it seems like he found an alternative to food if he needs to shut Stiles up. Their kiss is messy and uncoordinated, like a drunken kiss ought to be, but that in no way makes Derek want to push Stiles away, or stop him when he tries to climb on his lap. He hasn’t been this close to someone in so long that it overwhelms him, the weight of Stiles on top of him, his warmth, his hands on his neck. For a moment he doesn’t know what to do with his body, still too focused on kissing Stiles. He starts with his hands, on Stiles’ hips. He’s wearing one of those flimsy t-shirts he wears whenever he goes out, one that ultimately is too short to cover his lower back when sitting in such position.

 

His hands push the fabric up and he feels the urge to feel more of his skin, to get his shirt off and his own shirt and just touch him and feel him. Stiles sighs against his lips; he’s panting lightly and just staring into his eyes. He’s still too close for Derek to see his face completely, but he’s sure he’s smiling, and that his lips are red and maybe even a little swollen. And he’s sure he looks the same.

 

Stiles quirks up an eyebrow and reaches for one of his hands, still underneath his shirt and starts moving it downwards to his ass. “Pretty sure the other one knows where to follow.” He closes the distance between their lips again, this time starting out slow as his hands slide from Derek’s neck to grab his shoulders instead. It isn’t until Stiles begins moving his hips that he realizes why he moved his hands. It’s just a teasing rhythm, light, but Stiles’ fingers are digging sharply into his shoulders, bunching the fabric of his shirt.

 

He decides to follow Stiles’ words and his hand slowly joins the one on his ass and squeezes, which makes Stiles groan lightly against his lips. For a moment he thinks of how things would be if they were completely naked, doing this...they’re bad thoughts, bad thoughts that prompt him to use his hands to make Stiles move his hips a little faster, and also to move his own a little to meet Stiles’. Things are starting to escalate and all he can think of is how much he wants and how much he needs this. Stiles breaks the kiss and now with his lips otherwise available, Derek starts mouthing at Stiles’ neck, kissing and biting, earning increasingly louder sounds of appreciation and pleasure from Stiles.

 

“You’re not gonna kick me out afterwards, are you?” He whispers in Derek’s ear as he begins to still his hips.

 

“I don’t think I can kick you out of your own apartment.” Derek moves his hands up and rests them on Stiles’ hips.

 

“Wouldn’t be surprised, dude.” He gives Derek a kiss on the cheek and then comfortably sits on Derek’s thighs. “Hey, let’s move to my room?”

 

Derek doesn’t even need to think about it. Maybe a few hours ago he would’ve considered it and ultimately said no, but that is no longer the case. Trying to be rational is a lost battle. “Yeah...yeah, lead the way.” Stiles tries to get up, not without first tripping over his legs when trying to get up from Derek’s lap, and has a little trouble standing straight. “And you wanted to have another bottle?”

 

“When sitting down it didn’t sound like a bad idea. Come on. We’re not getting naked here because Scott won’t let me hear the end of it.”

 

“He doesn’t need to know,” he says as he gets up, being only a little more successful than Stiles. It’s been a while since the last time he got this drunk, lately just sticking to beers and never drinking more than four bottles; but at this point he’s glad he’s not puking all over the place.

 

“He’ll know because after we’re done I'm sure neither will feel like moving at all.”

 

“That good?”

 

“Dude, we’re drunk.” He has a point; he already doesn’t feel like moving as it is. “But by all means, slap me awake if I pass out the moment we make it to my bed.”

 

“Same.” He follows Stiles to the room he had disappeared into earlier. And now this is the kind of mess he expects from a twenty-something year old guy that likes to spend his free time gaming.

 

“Urgh, sorry for all...this. I figured we’d stick to the living room so I didn’t bother...just ignore all the clothes and um...food wrappers and...look, the bed is clear!” And unmade, but he’s not picky about that. Stiles drags him closer and Derek doesn’t complain when he’s pushed down on the bed, although the buzz from the alcohol is starting to make things difficult. He barely registers Stiles getting on the bed, his knees on both sides of his thighs, and slowly leaning over his body. “Hey, come back.”

 

He blinks a few times and waits for things to stop spinning. “Not used to drinking.” This time he doesn’t need to be told where to put his hands, and he regrets not taking his clothes off before so readily laying down on the bed.

 

“We’ll have to stick to beer then.” Stiles begins pulling at the hem of his shirt. “This has to come off. You have no idea how much I’ve wanted to see you shirtless, like, since that day you wore this same fucking green henley. You looked so hot, but at the same time it was like off, off, off!” Derek helps him as best as he can given the circumstances and soon he’s shirtless. “Off is definitely better.” Stiles seems to be in a daze, just staring while his hand moves down his chest, slowly feeling every muscle. It feels good, but at the moment he needs something else. Something more. He squeezes Stiles’ ass to remind him. “Right, right. We have unfinished business.” Stiles begins rocking his hips back and forth, considerably more forcefully than he did when they were on the couch, but Derek can tell they’re still at teasing territory given the smirk on Stiles’ lips. “Why are we still wearing clothes, damn, we really didn’t think this through.”

 

“I probably would’ve come by now.”

 

“Yeah, same. But this is so maddenly not enough, urgh.” His hands start fumbling with the button of his jeans, but then Derek realizes that it’s more like buttons. And Derek laughs. “Fuck these jeans! This is why I never wear them! I just didn’t think...urgh!”

 

“Take your shirt off.” Stiles shakes his head, but does it anyway. His skin looks smooth, stretched over lean muscle and just like he expected, with occasional moles scattered all over. Derek wants to touch and taste him, take his time with him while he learns the places that make him shudder and start babbling incoherencies. He wishes he had more time for that, that he wasn’t so on edge to reach his release. “Come here.” Stiles does so immediately and presses his lips to Derek’s once he’s close enough, moaning from the new skin on skin contact. For a moment Derek’s hands leave  their spot on Stiles’ ass and move up his back, feeling his muscles as they contract with each movement of his hips. “So good.” Stiles’ mouth moves down his jaw and towards his neck, biting the place where his neck meets his shoulder. He’s able to feel the sharp pain but it only adds up to his pleasure, wanting Stiles to keep doing it, and to also keep laying rough kisses on his neck.

 

He doesn’t notice he’s being particularly noisy until Stiles points it out, encouraging him to be louder. “Is this better than your hand?” Stiles whispers in his ear.

 

Derek snorts and moves his hands back to Stiles’ ass, dragging his nails along his skin “It’s a definite improvement.” Stiles moans when his hands move up again, only to slip inside the back his pants. “Why did we finish that bottle, fuck.”

 

“I know.” Stiles’ breath hitches when one of his hands moves lower. “God, I’d so have your cock in me. You’d be such a great, hard fuck. Yes, Derek.” He spreads his legs to allow Derek more access.

 

“Really? Hard and rough?”

 

“Yeah. God, yeah. God, I’d let you hold me down and just let you go at it. And you haven’t fucked anyone in a while, fuck…” He whimpers restlessly when Derek’s fingers start feeling the area, pressing onto his perineum and moving up.

 

“I’d wreck you. Fuck you so damn hard.” Regardless of his words, his middle finger carefully finds his hole, slowly teasing the muscle. “You wouldn’t be able to sit on your ass for days.”

 

“But it’d be so worth it.” Stiles is beginning to move erratically, his panting now too desperate to keep going for much longer. “Fuck, I’d get the lube but...I don’t think I’ll last at all now. But I want you inside me. At least your fingers. Fuck.”

 

“Maybe in the morning?” He knows he’s being too hopeful about that since he doesn’t know how things will be in the morning, he doesn’t know how he himself will feel in the morning but at the moment it feels like the best thing to say because it’s what he’d want to do. To take up Stiles on his offer to let him fuck him over and over, until he’s finally satisfied and Stiles is blissed out.

 

“Urgh, I’ll hold you to that. Fuck, I’m gonna…” He doesn’t finish and Derek can just tell. “Derek, god,” he moans as he presses his face into Derek’s neck, letting his body go limp on top of his. Derek only needs to push Stiles onto him a few more times, already well on the edge with the noises Stiles made and his rapid breaths on his neck, and he’s also done. It’s the most satisfying orgasm he’s had in years, every nerve of his body just tingling from the release and he’s sure this time it isn’t the alcohol that makes him feel so light headed, so relaxed. He takes deep breaths to try and calm down his heart-rate, to stop the blood from pounding so hard into his ears. When Stiles rolls off from on top of him a minute later and lies on his left side, he opens his eyes. Everything is fuzzy, and he knows he won’t stay awake for too long now.

 

“I’m all sticky and nasty, urgh,” Stiles complains, but makes no attempt to move from his spot.

 

“Same. And I don’t think I can do anything about it.”

 

Stiles makes an agreeing noise. “Hey, you mind if I cuddle you?”

 

“Go ahead.”

 

“Dude, you’re the best. Better than prince charming.”

 

Derek doesn’t think he’s ever fallen asleep this easily. But he credits that to the alcohol.

 


 

There’s knocks on the door, so loud and so persistent that all he wants to do is grab something from the night side table to throw and make the noise stop. But he’s not at his apartment, so that’d be rude.

 

“Jesus, fuck. Scott!” Derek can hear the bastard laughing on the other side of the door. “He better had made a shitton of pancakes or...else. God, my brain is still broken. Well, it is morning and hey, hangover.” Stiles rubs his forehead against Derek’s shoulder and then sighs deeply. “You alright there, dude?”

 

He doesn’t know what he was expecting. He doesn’t even know why he was expecting anything to begin with, but Stiles being just so casual about having him in his bed, about having his arms still draped over his chest as if he was the most comfortable pillow, wasn’t it. “Yeah.”

 

“Cool. You want breakfast.” Stiles stretches his back, making a few vertebrae pop. “Scott may be an asshole, but his pancakes are fluffy and the right shade of golden.”

 

“Sure.” He sits up on the bed once Stiles has untangled his limbs from around him, and just then he feels how sore his shoulders are and...shit, his underwear. “Do you mind if I use your bathroom?”

 

“No, go ahead. Can I offer you pants? Underwear?” He slowly gets up from the bed and walks to the pile of clothes he has on his desk.

 

“I’m fine.”

 

“Alright. I’ll get my pjs on. I doubt I’ll leave my bed all day.” He leaves Stiles to sort through the pile and exits the room, hoping that he won’t run into Scott in the three second stretch from Stiles’ door to the bathroom.

 

But he isn’t that lucky. Scott is practically leering at him and the girl standing next to him only looks at him with curiosity.

 

“Hi.” The faster he can get this over with, the better.

 

“Morning, Derek.” He doesn’t like the way Scott’s looking at him; he thinks of how last night he had looked threatening when standing at the door, and how he prefers that look on Scott. “This is my girlfriend, Allison.” The girl waves at him and offers him a friendly smile.

 

“Nice to meet you. I’m going to…” He points to the bathroom and doesn’t wait for their reply to hurry and lock himself inside the bathroom. This is a nightmare.

 

And he’s still shirtless.

 


 

Breakfast isn't so bad if he concentrates on the pancakes...but if he takes everything else in, then it’s awkward as fuck. Scott can’t stop looking between him and Stiles and Allison seems to be happily planning their entire wedding in her head. Stiles, on the other hand, is completely silent, already on his fifth pancake. Derek doesn’t know how to leave, he doesn’t know at what point he can say that he has to go to work without it sounding like he wants to escape. This is so incredibly outside of his comfort zone that he’s amazed he can still eat.

 

He focuses fully on his plate, it’s his third pancake and he’s already cut it into small pieces, something he did to keep his gaze down. Well, he certainly doesn’t want to see Scott’s grinning face or Allison’s damn dimples, so he’ll have to keep his eyes down. 

 

“Do you want more coffee, Derek?” Allison asks and this is it. This is his out.

 

“No, thanks. I’ll have some at work.”

 

“You’re going to work?” Stiles looks up from his pancake, and that’s the first time he’s talked to him since he came out of the bathroom. Not counting the ‘here’ when he handed him his henley.

 

“Yes. I was supposed to be there at eight, so my sisters are probably fuming since Sundays are very busy.” Well, he knows for sure one of them will be fuming.

 

“Really? Can’t you call in sick?” It almost sounds like an invitation to stay, but he can’t risk it. He can’t risk falling for it and then having Stiles send him home to deal with thinking all over again about last night alone at his place.

 

“I don’t think so.”

 

Stiles nods in understanding and then slowly goes back to cutting his pancake. “Well, you can use the shower if you want to.”

 

“It’s fine.” And silence. “I think I’ll just...go.” Awkward, but at least he’ll soon be out of this situation. Unless Stiles asks him to stay, or…

 

“Okay. I uh, I’ll see you around.” Right. He doesn’t miss the way Scott grimaces and it almost seems like he wants to facepalm.

 

“See you,” he says to Scott and Allison and then walks as fast as possible to the door, not caring anymore if it looks like he’s fleeing.

 


 

Derek considers heading straight for the coffee shop, but he doubts Laura and Cora will be less murderous if he shows up late and looking like he currently does than if he shows really late but at least looking more like himself and clean. And with underwear. Although then he’d be able to pretend he’s brooding because of that and not because Stiles just...let him go.

 

But then, he’d rather do his brooding with clean underwear on. Also he’d rather not explain to his sisters why he’s not wearing underwear.

 

His shower is quick and he dresses even quicker, picking a random pair of jeans and a v-neck sweater he rarely wears. He grabs his coat on his way out and heads for the shop, which is only a ten minute walk away.

 

When he walks in, Cora looks up from one of the tables she’s cleaning and gives him the stink eye, obviously not thrilled that she was called in to work early. Well, he’s covered for her plenty of times, he’s not about to feel guilty about this. Too guilty, anyway. Laura doesn’t look especially murderous, but then she’s just handing a customer his order, so he takes that as his chance to quickly sneak past her and into the back room to leave his coat and grab his apron.

 

“Derek Hale, you terrible human being and brother.” He wasn’t expecting any less, although Laura doesn’t sound to be mad at all.

 

“Sorry. Fell asleep.”

 

“It’s fine, I just called the lazy sibling, who now really curses your existence and...Derek.” Before he can even ask what else he did this time, she’s just casually pulling at the neck of his sweater and going with the way her eyebrows just shoot up he can already guess what it is. Just when he thought he could make his brooding about Stiles look like his usual brooding. “So, what happened?”

 

“We drank too much.”

 

“One thing led to another?” He gives her an unimpressed look, but it does nothing to dampen her teasing smirk. “Alright, alright. You could’ve called and asked for the day off. I’m sure you could use a day to spend in bed, snuggling cute, mole-y guy. He seemed to be really into you.”

 

“No, he isn’t.” It’s impossible to mask his bitterness and disappointment, especially after he remembers how Stiles had worshipped his neck the night before. It immediately puts Laura on alert, and her amused expression quickly turns into one of worry.

 

“He didn’t break your heart, did he?”

 

“Laura.” Because Stiles didn’t break his heart, please. But he does feel rejected. “Not right now.” Not ever, actually.

 

“Fine. Get to work then.” He tries to fix his sweater as best as he can, but Laura just sighs and fixes it herself. “Better. I’ll tell Cora to leave you alone for now, okay?” He nods and walks back outside to stand by the register, where two girls are waiting already.

 

Working does do wonders on Derek, except for the part where nearly every time someone walks in he has to look up, and pretend he isn’t disappointed that it isn’t Stiles.

 


 

Derek doesn’t see Stiles all week.

 

He does long shifts, sometimes even stays the whole day. And nothing. He tells himself that it’s okay, after all, it’s not like Stiles shows up any other time during the week. Just on Saturdays after going out and...yeah.

 

As he closes the shop late that Friday, he realizes that he essentially did the same thing he did with Kate. He trusted too soon.

 

---

 

When Stiles walks into the shop on Saturday, fifteen minutes after Derek has opened, he tries to ignore the ridiculous and totally unexplainable pain he feels spreading all over his chest. Of course Stiles would carry on with his life, with the endless one-night stands. After all, he did end up being just one of them.

 

“Morning,” he says since Stiles has been standing by the bar for a couple of seconds, just staring at him.

 

“Hey, dude. Um...cappuccino?” Derek nods and proceeds to make the drink, using the machine that’s further from the bar. He can feel Stiles’ eyes still on him the whole time, but he’s strangely quiet. Normally by this time he’d know half the story about last night’s hook up, and he’d be almost begging Stiles to shut up about the details. Instead, it’s almost like he’s choking on the awkwardness of the current situation. And he can’t say that he’s enjoying that Stiles doesn’t feel at ease with him anymore, and for all that he’d wanted Stiles to come into the shop all week, now he can’t wait for him to be gone.

 

The coffee can’t drip fast enough.

 

He prepares the milk on the side and once it’s done he grabs one of the disposable travel cups and just takes whatever’s done brewing of the coffee and dumps it in, along with the milk. As an afterthought, he eyes the cinnamon shaker and considers sprinkling a good amount of it all over the milk just to spite Stiles because he absolutely hates the thing ruining his milk, but he’s a mature grown-up.

 

But damn, he does it anyway.

 

And it feels so good.

 

After putting the lid on, he leaves it on the counter right in front of Stiles.

 

Stiles eyes the cup for what feels like an eternity. “I...I’m sorry, okay? I just didn’t know what to do.”

 

“You don’t have to apologize.”

 

“No, dude. It was an asshole move, like...god, even Scott said it was an asshole move. Allison, who’s normally a sweetheart and totally loves me, said it was an asshole move, ultimately making me the biggest asshole since Jackson.” Derek frowns because he really doesn’t have a clue of what Stiles is on about. “Uh, he’s some dude we went to school with, and he was the worst, worst--”

 

“Asshole. I don’t see why you are an asshole, though.” Well, he can think of a couple of reasons, but he’s not up for letting Stiles know how bitter he is about...about. He’s not even sure what he should be bitter about. Stiles not asking him to stay after breakfast? Stiles not showing up any time on Sunday? Or at all during the week when he normally doesn’t anyway? Stiles not declaring his undying love for him? No, he knows. He’s bitter about himself, for just liking Stiles. For being so ridiculous to think that Stiles should like him back.

 

“Oh.” Rather than looking relieved as Derek had expected, he looks disappointed. “Oh, that’s...great. Absolutely. See, I knew they were wrong. Totally wrong about who the asshole was here,” he mutters the last bit to himself, but it’s loud enough for Derek to hear it. And if Derek didn’t know better, he wouldn’t have picked that as a jab at himself.

 

“Sorry?” Stiles does notice that his frown has taken a turn to angry and quickly starts shaking his head.

 

“Nothing, just...that, nothing.”

 

“Am I missing something?”

 

“No, I just...I should’ve known. Well, I did know. Sorta. I shouldn’t have let Scott and Allison fill my head with crap. They spent all week telling me all these things and god, I couldn’t even sleep last night just thinking about it all and I was an idiot for waiting so long and a coward because really, a whole week. And for all the talking I do, I just couldn’t think of what to say because I just felt I had screwed things up and…” He makes some vague gestures with his hands and then goes back to staring at his cup. “I’m just--”

 

“Wait. You didn’t go out last night?”

 

“What?” He looks up at him, frowning. “No, I...you thought I went out last night? Dude, these are basically my pjs.” Then Derek really looks at what Stiles is wearing. He’s wearing a tattered zip-up hoodie that still looks warmer than his usual jean jacket, with a way over-washed Batman t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants. Derek hasn’t gone clubbing in years, but he’s very certain that is in no way the accepted dress code to be allowed into a club.

 

“You come here every saturday morning after leaving whoever’s apartment you’ve spent the night in, I thought today would be no different,” Derek says and suddenly feels so stupid for jumping to conclusions.

 

“No, I didn’t go out last night,” Stiles says slowly, and Derek can see the exact moment Stiles just gets it. “I just...I came now because I was sure I’d find you here...and well, alone. I’m sure you work some other times during the week, but you’d be too busy to talk...or so I told myself, and thus had Scott and Allison nagging at me--”

 

“You wanted to talk,” he interrupts before Stiles can get sidetracked again.

 

“Yeah, and, well, it’s not like I have your number or know where you live...so yeah, I just waited until saturday at six to have a sure chance to talk to you.”

 

“That’s ridiculous,” he says, even though it’s very clear Stiles knows that very well already.

 

“And completely idiotic. That’s what they said as well but I don’t know.” He shrugs. “It sounded like a good enough idea at the time, but instead it was just...yeah, asshole move. Thus the apology.”

 

“So. Talk.”

 

He’s never seen Stiles at a loss for words. It’s very unlike last week when he was lost in his thoughts, now he even seems nervous. Stiles stays quiet for a moment, as if looking for the right words, and ultimately he just chuckles. “It’s funny how I normally come to you to talk about my shitty hook-ups, but now that you’re one of them it just feels...odd.”

 

He just blinks at him while the indignation settles inside him. “I was a shitty hook-up?”

 

“We were too drunk and seriously, dry-humping? If it was high school then fine, but my standards are a little higher now.” He places his hands on the counter as he walks closer to the bar. He’s got a teasing smile on, and for a moment it feels like before, when Stiles would just tell him things about his intimacy that Derek would be so quick to censor off, but this time he is part of it.

 

And he feels he has to respond accordingly. “Well, it certainly didn’t sound like you were too disappointed.” He doesn’t intend to sound so smug about it, given how in reality it had been Stiles doing mostly everything. “Sorry about the subpar performance then.”

 

“Sure, apologies accepted.” He grabs his cup and begins drumming his thumbs against the lid. “You could...you know, I could give you a second chance to clear your name.” He shrugs, but the invitation is clear. “If you’re interested, that is.”

 

Derek wants to say that he isn’t and just spare himself from actually getting hurt when things go to hell. Chances are that if he declines, maybe, Stiles will also take it as a hint to stop coming to the shop. Derek knows that there are plenty of coffee shops near his place that would most likely have a barista to entertain him in the early mornings. He doesn’t need Derek. And Derek doesn’t need him. He can carry on with how his life was before the noise and the he-doesn’t-know-what that Stiles is. But he’d miss him. That much he is sure about. Stiles is still looking at him, waiting for an answer. “But, are you interested?”

 

It doesn’t seem like he was expecting to have the question reverted on him. He purses his lips and looks down at his hands, fingers still playing with the lid. “Like you wouldn’t believe.” He sounds sincere and when he looks up Derek can see that same something he saw last night before Stiles first kissed him on the couch.

 

And he knows he’d be an idiot if he declined. He’s been alone for long enough to give things another shot again. “Then I can’t leave you thinking so lowly of me, can I?”

 

Stiles looks like he’s about to high-five himself and Derek tries his best to convince himself that it’s endearing. “Yeah, ‘cause I really saw potential there, you know?”

 

“Good. Is tonight alright with you?”

 

“Sure, just...come by my apartment at...I don't know, eight? Like last time?”

 

That last part gets stuck with him; he doesn’t want things to be like the last time. He wants them to be better, and he doesn’t think getting a little less drunk than last time so that they can fall into bed naked this time will count as an improvement. “How about I meet you elsewhere? Say, Alessandro’s a couple blocks from here?”

 

Stiles looks pleasantly surprised. “Oh, dinner as well? You sure are aiming high here.”

 

“I have to really outdo myself, haven’t I?”

 

“Not confident in your skills or what?”

 

Derek snorts. “I’m a little rusty, but I’m sure I can manage.” He’s more than sure that he can manage. If they actually manage to get to that point tonight. He’ll make sure to limit their alcohol intake. And hopefully Stiles won’t wear difficult jeans again. “And maybe I just don’t want to be like your other hook-ups?"

 

“Well, you aren’t.” He finally picks up the cup and takes a couple steps backwards. “So…” He starts bringing the cup to his lips and just then Derek remembers.

 

And he stops him before he can take a sip. “Wait! Can I make you another one?”

 

“Huh?” Derek points at the cup. “What, why?”

 

“Open it.” Yeah, now he feels a little embarrassed for being so childish.

 

“Aw, Derek.” He looks absolutely disgusted and Derek is about to get the maker set for a fresh single brew, but Stiles just shakes his head. “No, no. It’s fine. I deserve it.” He puts the lid back on and takes a sip. “Yeah, definitely never crossing my free coffee provider.”

 

“Then don’t be late tonight.” Stiles nods as he continues to walk backwards towards the door. “I’ll see you tonight.”

 

His back finally hits the glass of the door and he sighs. “See you tonight!” He turns around and opens the door. Once outside he waves excitedly at him through the glass and doesn’t start walking until Derek does the same.

 

He can’t come to terms with himself to stop smiling as he makes his own breakfast, thinking about how he’s going to have to let Laura know in advance that he won’t make it for tomorrow’s shift this time.