Derek walks into the Hale Gym with a scowl firmly in place. He hates these days. He really only sees the gym in the afternoon, when all the other gymnasts have finished their workouts and it’s blessedly quiet and empty. Every now and again his mother, Talia, makes him participate in ‘team building’ days. But they’re not that often nor so painful that Derek really complains. Really there aren’t that many other gymnasts Derek truly dislikes but as a rule, he avoids people. And for now, he is perfectly content to be alone most of the time.
Which makes these stupid days a personal form of torture.
It’s Beginner Gymnasts Camp week and Derek has to help work it.
All the Hale gymnasts have to work it, actually, but normally his mother doesn’t force him to participate. This year however she’s claiming a shortage of help and a higher than normal attendance booked. So here he is, walking into the gym bracing himself for the chaos of small children running around his happy place.
He’d shown up late as a final act of annoyance at having been made to participate. When he finishes dropping his bag in the locker room and walks into the main space he’s a little surprised at the near silence he finds. Maybe he wasn’t all that late. Scott McCall, who Derek actually can tolerate because he’s quiet and focused in the gym, is quietly and patiently explaining to the tiny human beings on the floor in front of him how the day is going to go.
Derek spots his mom and Laura talking similarly to a group of kids that look a little older. Scott’s group of five looks to be somewhere between four and six years of age. His mom’s group of three is probably closer to ten to twelve year olds. Cora and Boyd have two kids in the middle group of seven to nine year olds in yet another corner.
When his mom catches his eye and looks pointedly at McCall, Derek takes it to mean that he’s supposed to help keep the youngest group of kids on task. He sighs a little and quietly approaches the group so as not to distract them from Scott’s explanation. As he approaches he spots someone sitting with the kids, a little girl perched on his lap.
He’s sitting cross legged but Derek would hazard a guess he’s similar in height to Scott. With tousled brown hair, toned forearms and moles on his cheeks, Derek is reluctant to admit it but the guy is fairly attractive.
He hasn’t really had that thought about anyone since…just, for a while, preferring to avoid interacting with non-family members at all costs. He has exactly zero plans on dating anyone, even though this guy seems to have engaged Derek’s brain enough to recognize how good looking he is.
The guy looks to be the same age as Scott and Derek wonders if Scott brought a friend along to help in case Derek didn’t show.
Great, Derek thinks, a volunteer who knows nothing about gymnastics and probably doesn’t even handle kids that well. So it’s with not a small amount of annoyance and derision that Derek sits down at the other end of the line of kids behind them. He glares at the volunteer as Scott wraps up his explanation before looking at the kids.
They’re all almost completely still and attentive except for the one on the other guy’s lap. The little girl seems unable to stop fidgeting. But instead of disrupting the kid next to her, she just fiddles with the guy’s hands and fingers to keep herself focused. Derek has to look away because something about the guy’s hands is giving him feelings he’s not quite able to decipher.
Scott finishes speaking and the kids stand up to follow him to the edge of the floor. Derek realizes he probably should have been listening but Scott just smiles at him in greeting as they walk over and explains over the kids’ heads.
“We’re starting with basic stretching skills and forward and backwards rolls on the mats. Just pick two, I’ll take two and Stiles has the fifth.”
Stiles? What the hell kind of name is Stiles? Derek hopes to goodness it’s a nickname as he nods in response to Scott and looks down at the two kids he’ll be in charge of for the day. One boy just glares right back at him and the other looks a little nervous.
Derek is too busy right away watching the first boy, Reid, do all the skills nearly perfectly on the first try and the second boy, Kody, hesitantly try and copy what he saw to pay any attention to Stiles or Scott. Reid, it seems, already knows his shit, so he and Derek help coax Kody into trying again. It only takes a few minutes for Reid’s annoyance to diminish considerably as he helps Kody figure stuff out.
Before long, Scott blows a whistle and they all stop what they’re doing.
“That was great, guys,” Scott enthuses. “Now we’re going to go…”
Derek stops listening as his attention is again pulled to Stiles. Now that he’s standing up, Derek is proven right in that he’s only a little taller than Scott and a little shorter than Derek. The sweatpants he’s wearing are loose and yet still manage to cling deliciously to his frankly adorable butt. His nose turns up at the end and his eyes are big and warm and brown. He even has an irritatingly nice smile.
Derek’s always been suckered in by a nice smile.
Of course, the rest of him isn’t helping matters for Derek either.
Being brought back to the present, he feels a tug on his hand as Kody leads him off to the next part of camp. Now they’re doing cartwheels and at this point, Reid is doing more instructing than Derek is. Which is frankly, really convenient because now Derek can watch Stiles work with his kid.
Stiles smiles warmly at her when she gets something right, they share a high five and move on to the next skill. He patiently guides her, correcting her form ever so slightly now and again. He gets caught staring once or twice but Stiles just smiles brightly at him both times.
Which Derek almost is annoyed by, because almost everyone who doesn’t know him or his personality that smiles at him like that just wants one thing. To get in his pants.
But that’s not something he does anymore.
Dating someone from the rival gym and have them try to break your leg and ruin your career will do that. So will dating someone who knows nothing about gymnastics to get over your crazy ex but they only dated you to get back at another person because you’re good looking. And then of course you could date another girl who is only in town for the summer and wasn’t looking for a real committed relationship because ‘it wouldn’t be worth getting tied down to you.’
So yeah, he doesn’t date. And he definitely doesn’t have sex with people because as Laura would say, ‘he has intimacy issues now’.
So he changes his focus back to dealing with his kids, frustrated that his initial points against Stiles are crumbling before him. He’s good with the kid, seems to know what he’s doing as far as the gymnastics go and of course, he just has to be Derek’s type.
He chances a few more glances at the other guy, getting caught only once more, but really he starts to focus on working with the kids. He’s so focused he doesn’t realize how quickly time is passing until Scott announces they get ten minutes on the trampoline to finish out the day. Stiles jumps right up on the tramp to keep the peace while Scott and Derek stand beside it, ready to catch anyone who might fall off.
“Thanks for your help, dude, I don’t think we could have handled five kids just the two of us,” Scott says quietly.
Derek nods in acknowledgement and takes advantage of the situation to watch Stiles just a little bit more. He really should work on his tendency to torture himself.
Now, though, Derek is given the chance to notice how many times Stiles is looking at him. Now things are a little more complicated. A one sided begrudging attraction is easily dealt with and ignored. But if Stiles is attracted to Derek, which according to ex #1 ‘who isn’t?’, then Derek might actually have a problem on his hands.
With a plan in mind, Derek helps the kids off the trampoline at the end of their time and helps Scott herd them all over to their waiting parents. He’s talking with Kody’s mom for only a moment after Scott heads back over to where Stiles is still on the trampoline, jumping around in earnest now.
It’s only after he bids Kody and his mother goodbye that he turns back and hears Stiles tell Scott he’s going to try and do a flip so complicated and difficult Derek immediately balks. If Stiles knows a move like that he had to have been a gymnast at some point. Which is great because that means he’s not a clueless volunteer but an out of shape former athlete that still thinks he can do what he used to in his prime.
He quickens his pace as Stiles is still on the tramp doing flip flops and back flips. Right as he gets next to Scott, Stiles does the flip. Derek wants to cry out stop or no or something to keep the guy from getting hurt.
Instead, Stiles does the move perfectly. Like, Derek doesn’t think he’s done that move that well, ever.
Now Derek has to change his view of Stiles again because if he could do that without hardly any warm up before hand, Stiles has to be a training, competing athlete. But Derek doesn’t understand how because he doesn’t think he’s ever seen Stiles at the gym or even at competitions.
Then again, Derek hasn’t really been looking either.
Now that he no longer feels the need to stop Stiles from breaking his neck, Derek walks back towards the locker room. The camp ran all morning, but instead of leaving and coming back in a couple hours, Derek decided he could get in a few early workouts this week. His locker is in the row furthest from the door because no one else has their stuff back there. His bag is mostly spread out over the bench when Stiles and Scott come barging through the doors.
“Stiles listen to me-“
“I don’t want to Scott.”
“You need to,” Scott insists and from the sounds of it shoves Stiles down onto a bench.
“You need to tell Derek about your massive crush on him.”
“WHY,” Stiles responds sounding completely exasperated. “It’s not a massive crush, it’s a little crush and I already know he’s sworn off dating. Why make it awkward by asking him? Besides, even if he is ready to start dating again, he isn’t going to want to date me.”
“Why because you’re a dude? That’s bullshit and you know it,” Scott shoots back, irritated.
“No, I don’t know it, Scott! I haven’t even talked to him why would I know he’d be okay with me crushing on him?”
Scott pauses and Derek is similarly frozen. Never has Derek’s tendency towards being undetectably silent been so informative.
“Fine,” Scott agrees slowly, “but from what I know of Derek, I don’t think he’d have a problem with it.”
Derek hears Stiles sigh.
“Scott,” he says softly, “I know what you’re doing buddy. You feel guilty about all the time you’re spending with Kira and all the time you’re not spending with me. But, dude, that’s how life works. I still see you here and whatever. But Kira’s your girlfriend you have to give her your time too. Just…don’t worry about me, okay? I’m not as miserable and lonely as you think I am.”
“Stiles, you watched the five hour long Pride and Prejudice and ate two pints of Haagen Dazs, yesterday.”
Derek fumbles his water bottle at that. Because, well, he has sisters, he has probably seen that version of Pride and Prejudice too many times. And yes, he’s fairly embarrassed to admit that he likes it. It literally caught him off guard that much that he dropped his water bottle. Which in a locker room, empty plastic bottle hitting a hard bench and the tile floor repeatedly? Yeah, so much for his undetectable silence in the room.
Then suddenly Scott is calling out, voice raised, “If that was Derek Hale fumbling his water bottle say nothing.”
And Derek opens his mouth to respond before he catches what Scott really said. He hears one of them groan (probably Stiles) and then some furious whispering where Derek thinks he hears, “talk to him,” from Scott. Then Derek hears the door close behind what he assumes is Scott leaving the building and Stiles’ deep breaths for a moment. Then he can hear Stiles shuffle over to the edge of the lockers.
Stiles peers around the lockers, cheeks flushed red and Derek’s resolve just crumbles.
“Hi,” he says quietly.
“You heard all of that didn’t you?” Stiles asks, bluntly.
“We could start with the basics,” Derek blurts out when it looks like Stiles is going to run away.
Stiles snorts and Derek realizes he’s parroting his mother’s motto at the gym.
“Build on them slowly,” Stiles continues only a little sarcastically as he smiles and comes out from behind the lockers.
“Keep adding skills until we’re ready to stick it,” Derek finishes before he can sensor himself.
Stiles balks a little, “Yes, except maybe not the last part.”
Derek quirks a curious eyebrow and Stiles rolls his eyes.
"Just because I like boys doesn't mean I've slept with any."
Derek steps towards him finally, “Yeah, me neither. But, that's not an issue for me.”
“Really?” Stiles asks, skeptically.
“Really,” Derek replies firmly.
“Okay,” Stiles agrees with a shy, small smile. “Where should we start?”
“We could go to dinner? And I’ll even tell you why the 2005 version with Keira Knightley is just as good as the BBC version.”
Stiles eyes twinkle even as the blush returns to his cheeks.
Who knew putting up with his mother would land Derek a date with the cutest gymnast Derek has ever seen?