A Potato By Any Other Name
A few days ago, there was a fic about a potato, and then I thought about this, which I first heard a few years ago, and has stuck with me (K and I gift each other potatoes sometimes, because we’re huge sappy nerds) Big thank you to @rhysiana for the brilliant title, and to my SWN chat group for the encouragement!
So, plot: Derek gives romantic gifts, but Stiles is still a little insecure about the future of their relationship. When he gets with the “Derek loves me” program, he gives Derek a rather unconventional gift.
On AO3 here!
The flowers are beautiful. A perfect balance of deep purple heliotropes and white lilies. They even came in a glass vase, simple but elegant. The note is equally simple and sweet: Thinking of you, as always. Love, Derek.
Stiles sighs as he places the flowers on his kitchen table, they look a little bit ridiculous on the aged, slightly worn surface, but he smiles at them nonetheless.
It’s a nice gesture, but he’s not sure he’s ready to believe they mean what he wants them to mean.
The phone call is unsurprising, but not unwanted. “Hey, Der,” Stiles answers with fond exasperation, “You have impeccable timing.”
Derek chuckles lightly and asks “Did you uh, do you like them?” He sounds so hopeful that Stiles knows even if he was allergic, he’d say “yes” and keep them on his table until they dried out and fell apart.
“They’re beautiful, thank you,” Stiles answers sincerely. He can feel the way his grin goes soft, melting into the private smile that only Derek can tease out of him. He knows Derek can hear it in his voice, can tell from the way he inhales a quiet sigh that makes Stiles’ heart swell.
Stiles knows that Derek is going to say something that Stiles has no good reply to, going to ask if Stiles is ready to accept that Derek’s invested in a future for them. But the truth is he just isn’t; he can’t quite convince himself that it’s possible that Derek is going to stick around for him, not forever.
So before Derek can ask, Stiles launches into planning their weekly dinner with his dad the following night.
The chocolates come three days later. They’re Stiles’ favorite dark chocolate assortment, and they’re delicious. The note is just as sweet: Stiles, I saw these and thought of you. Love, Derek.
When Stiles brings the last of the box to pack night, he pretends that everyone’s chocolate-induced excitement distracts him from how Derek’s face falls.
When Derek pulls him aside later, questions written all over his face, Stiles stops them from spilling from Derek’s lips by pressing his own against them. He tries to say everything he wants to with gentle sweeps of his tongue and hands that hold on a little too tightly.
When the box of comic books and assorted superhero things arrives, Stiles laughs out loud into his empty living room and calls Derek.
Derek answers the phone with a wary “Stiles,” and Stiles feels like the worst boyfriend in the world.
“I got the box, and I love it. Thank you so much!” Stiles replies, a little overly cheerful, but still genuine and honest. He’s a lucky man, and most days he thinks he doesn’t deserve Derek. Which is basically the problem, when it comes down to it. Derek has been trying to convince Stiles that their relationship is what he really wants, and Stiles has been keeping him at arm’s length, too caught up in the remnants of his teenaged self doubt to… see what was right in front of him.
Shit. He is the worst boyfriend in the world.
Derek is in the middle of “I’m so glad! I think I got all your favorites-” when Stiles interrupts with a half-shouted and mildly frantic “Come over tonight!”
There’s a brief pause, before Derek drawls out an elongated “Okay?”
“I have something to give you,” Stiles insists, suddenly overwhelmed with the need to see Derek. To talk to Derek and apologize. To look him in the eye and make him understand that he is everything that Stiles wants, and that he’s ready to stop being such an asshole, if Derek will just forgive him.
“Stiles,” Derek admonishes lightly, “You don’t have to get me things just beca-”
“Yes, Derek,” Stiles retorts, “I really need to give you this. Like, really really. So just come over, okay? Please?”
Derek sighs and Stiles knows he’s won. He grins at Derek’s put upon “Sure, babe. See you in an hour.”
“See you soon, Der-Bear!” Stiles teases, adding an earnest-bordering-on-wistful “Love you,” and hanging up before Derek can react to the declaration, and before he can feel badly about how infrequently he says it to Derek.