"Have anyone told you you have the most intimidating nostrils I've ever seen?"
“Yeah, I won an award, junior year,” Derek answers, frowning at his new IKEA (bought and built, all in a soft Henley sweater; Stiles knows, he supervised) book-shelf, like he hasn’t just finished a seven hundred page tome on Egyptian artefacts. A seven hundred page tome on Egyptian artefacts alone.
Derek Hale: epic nerd and assembler of easy-to-build IKEA products. Of course, Stiles thinks, cursing his stupid Professor and DIY kinks. Why not? The worst part is, he doesn’t even think those kinks are sexual. It’s just….a thing. That he has. A Derek thing. The Butterflies That Live In His Stomach were trying so desperately to move on with their lives, too. They’d shopped around. Hired a real-estate agent. They were ready, goddammit!
Derek settles on a book - Stiles is pretty sure it also has the word ‘artefacts’ in the title - and sighs, all feigned nostalgia, and glances over his shoulder. “It was a golden nose, too. Across the bottom it said,” he pauses, grinning, “Stiles Stilinski needs to get a life.”
Stiles opens his mouth, clutches his chest, because rude much? Is it his fault Derek’s nostrils belong in some kind of anatomy museum? Is it his fault his Saturday nights are spent playing video games in his underwear, when his week days are spent chasing down monsters and researching things like how Scott and Erica managed to contract chicken pox when stabbing them does, like, nothing? (Except get Erica excited because she’s a beautiful, terrifying weirdo.) The moment he tries to tell Derek this, however, a copy of - is that Pride and Prejudice? - is thrown at his head.
Stiles doesn’t know if he’s more offended when Derek rolls his eyes when it misses him, or the concerned look that crosses his face when the book sails past him and lands in an empty pizza box, like Derek is worried if it’s okay or not.
And to think, Stiles was going to screw up his courage and finally invite Derek to see a movie this weekend. In an actual theatre. Where people go to be normal. Well, the laugh is on Derek because Stiles is going to buy the big popcorn and he’s going to enjoy it all on his own.
Yeah, that’ll show him.
“Has anyone ever told you your eyebrows could star in a disturbing kid’s movie about caterpillars?”
Stiles is drunk. No, he’s wasted. Hammered. Loaded. Completely and utterly shit faced. Which is probably why instead of ending up on his ass on the floor, Derek just pinches the bridge of his nose, tips his head against the back of the couch and says, “what.” Not even a hint of inflection.
This dude, Stiles thinks, and then laughs because, ohmygod, Derek is this dude now. Not that dude or whoa, what are you doing crawling through my window, dude? but this dude. And that’s kind of beautifully heart warming, in its own way.
Really, Stiles should write into Hallmark. It could be a trilogy. A Gay Trilogy ™. Bisexuals on ice. Except, without the ice because Stiles doesn’t know how to skate. Can Derek skate? Stiles totally bets Derek can skate.
Speaking of Derek, he’s got this little crinkle on his forehead now, right between his eyebrows, and man, they really are very nice eyebrows. Animated but nice. A little dramatic but nice. Murderous but nice.
“What,” Derek says again, looking more confused than annoyed by the second. Stiles really wants to kiss him.
Instead, he stares. Stares and stares and stares.
Slapping a hand over his mouth, he begins laughing uncontrollably and before he knows it, he’s clutching his sides and has his face pressed against Derek’s chest, because the hilarity is killing him.
Because this is them now. Drinking peach-snaps at Derek’s loft, on a couch filled with throw pillows. Throw pillows. One is even soft and pink and frilly and another has a picture of the pack on it. Granted, no one is looking at the camera but Derek, Boyd and Kira and Derek is not so much looking at the camera as yelling at Stiles (holding the camera) for eating his secret stash of cookies, but it’s nice. It’s a nice picture. There is a plain black pillow too, of course. Somewhere. Stiles might be sitting on it, actually. He figures one can only expect so much when it comes to sour-wolves but Erica glued little cat ears on it last week and Derek said nothing. Fuck, he’d even smiled.
It says a lot about what a secret softie Derek is when it comes to vulnerable, drunk-ass people, because he doesn’t push Stiles away; just lets him laugh and laugh until he passes out, drooling on his chest.
When Stiles wakes up, Derek’s sweater is pretty soaked through but he hasn’t moved an inch. He does, however, tell Stiles he snores like a deranged goose and that he owes him a pastry later.
He doesn’t even ask for a specific kind, Stiles chastises in his head, falling back to sleep. He’s in love with a pastry idiot.
“Do you know when you smile, you brighten up the whole damn room?”
The question clearly catches Derek off guard because he falls head first…into a duck pond.
Stiles’ first reaction is to jump in after him - he hates to admit it, but he gets a little nervous around water when Derek is with him; there have been several incidents where he’s unconsciously grabbed Derek’s hand in order to drag him away from pools and, one time, a very large puddle - but when Derek emerges, wearing his someone is about to die face, Stiles can’t be held accountable for the way he falls to the ground because, yup, that’s a tiny, outraged duckling perched on top of Derek’s head.
“Oh my god,” he yells, rolling onto his back and kicking his legs in the air. He feels like a kid, grabbing his stomach, water practically pouring from his eyes. This was, quite possibly, the best day of his life.
Normally, Derek would be yelling threats - several, in fact, some in Spanish because he’s a show off - but he just stands there….in the middle of a fucking pond. The duckling is still sitting on his head, like he or she plans to set up home there and it’s so adorable Stiles thinks he actually coos out loud.
Still, Derek still doesn’t say anything. Not even when Stiles coos again, very, very deliberately. (And Scott said his middle name could never be Danger, pffft.) Stiles can’t actually guess what Derek is going to do but he doesn’t care. He looks a strange cross between wanting to murder someone - namely, Stiles - and a little kid who was told they couldn’t get a puppy only to get one on Christmas day anyway.
Mostly, he just looks lost. And wet. Very, very wet. Somewhere out there, someone is playing It’s Raining Men and Stiles wants nothing more than to share this glorious moment with them. He’s just in the process of taking out his phone to at least snap a photo to send to the pack when -
“Did you mean it?” Derek asks, and man, those water droplets just keep on running, don’t they.
Stiles grins. “Did I mean for you to fall into a pond and adopt a new feathered friend? No but I think we can all agree-”
Derek growls and it would be effective - at least in getting Stiles to help him out of the pond - if it wasn’t for the fact his ears were turning a little pink. A lot pink, actually and -
Sitting up, Stiles drags his butt over to the edge of the pond.
“Yeah,” he says. “I meant it. I mean, smiles can’t literally light up rooms, I know that, but when you smile it’s like…” He sighs and flaps his arms, suddenly nervous, hitting Derek in the process. The duckling practically glares at him and Stiles briefly wonders if he has competition here.
Right. Better make this good then. He clears his throat.
“It’s like, everything just makes sense for a little bit, you know? I look at you and it’s not that smiling is rare for you, at least not anymore, but it’s still pretty thrilling to see it and when you do I’m like, that’s some quality shit right there but then I get confused because it’s like, do I wanna punch it? Kiss it? Pet it? Who knows. Usually it depends on what you’re wearing.”
Derek blinks and Stiles groans because, yeah, he just said that out loud. In real time. To Mr McGrumpy himself. Who is currently not reacting.
“Uh, I mean,” he attempts to correct himself but it’s too late. Derek is already slowly pulling him in and pressing his lips to his in what is the single most innocent, chaste kiss of Stiles’ life - because, you know, duckling and head movements - but somehow, it still manages to be perfect.
“Nice,” Stiles whispers, after, waggling his eyebrows.
Derek snorts and kisses him again.
“Turn it off,” Derek whines, nuzzling further into Stiles’ neck. “This is why I leave my phone in the kitchen. Like we discussed.”
Stiles tries to swat him, ends up kissing his temple. Sue him, he’s tired. “Says the person who can afford to leave their phone in the kitchen. We don’t all have supernatural hearing, asshole.”
Derek whines again. “You also have the worst taste in ringtones.”
Stiles gasps, suddenly sitting up. Well, he tries to. When your boyfriend is made of muscle and is half lying on top of you, it makes moving a lot more difficult. Not that Stiles is really complaining. Much. “I’ll have you know Bushes of Love is a Star Wars parody classic.”
Derek rolls his eyes, Stiles can feel it, says, “just answer it, sweetums.”
“Ugh,” Stiles grimaces, “I already told you I’m sorry for the pet-name thing. It was an accident!”
“Calling me your ‘slutty buddy’ in front of your dad was meant as a pet name?”
“It sounded better in my head!”
Derek groans and wraps an “exasperated” arm around Stiles’ waist. Oh. So. Exasperated. Stiles grins. “Answer. Your. Phone.”
Stiles finds his phone on the fifth try.
He has fifteen missed calls, all from Erica. Texts too. Every single one is a link to some article online, followed by a string of heart and eggplant emojis.
“Young Love and the Ugly Duckling’,” Stiles reads, clicking on the link. “Uhhh, Derek?” He prods him.
”There’s a picture of us in the online Beacon Gazette,” looking into each other’s eyes, like a pair of love sick fools, Stiles wants to add because, wow, is he really that obvious when he looks at Derek? To be fair though, Derek isn’t much better and he is the one with an angry bird on his head.
He prods Derek again and again until he finally gives in, makes him look at the phone.
“Huh,” he says, blinking at it. “Fred looks pretty pissed that I’m kissing you.” His face breaks out in a smug grin and Stiles rolls his eyes. Hard.
“You are aware Fred is a duckling, right?”
“Yes.” Derek grins harder, showing all his teeth, although his cheeks do colour slightly when he catches Stiles’ eye.
Stiles sighs, totally not fond. “They couldn’t have come up with a better title, though?” he asks, brandishing his phone. “The Ugly Ducking, really?”
“Yeah,” Derek says, frowning. “I mean, I wouldn’t go as far as to call you ugly.” He laughs and Stiles smacks him across the chest with a loud, “hey!”
They both turn back to look at the picture.
“We look so stupid,” Stiles whispers, shaking his head and biting his thumb. We fit, he thinks. We look like we fit.
Leaning in, Derek smiles at him. “We do,” he agrees, burying his face back into the warmth of Stiles’ neck, muttering something about home and content and stupid Star Wars parodies.
Stiles snaps a selfie, captions it goals, and sends it to Erica.