(University AU! Derek is a postdoc, Stiles is a current PhD student. Different research areas).
Derek sniffs and looks at the clouds again. It doesn’t smell like it’s going to rain but it sure as hell looks like it’s going to. The heat is oppressive, and he finds himself actively willing it to just start already. It’s the type of heat that just saps all his energy, but the only time he has time for a run is right now.
However he’s not a fan of getting wet; although in this heat he might just actually stand for it. He looks at the clouds again, distrustful, and decides to risk it. He has ninety minutes before he’s supposed to meet Laura for dinner and his mood will be even worse if he doesn’t let out some of his pent up frustrations after being in the lab all day.
He lets his mind unwind, go through the processes he’s carried out, the procedures and tweaks he could alter to maybe produce better results. At least the damn SEM is working again and can give him an even better idea of where he could improve.
His feet falter as the first fat drops of rain splatter, sending up little clouds of dust. Of course the storm breaks exactly halfway through his run. Regardless of whether he turns back or completes his run he’s going to get drenched. He continues, resigned to being absolutely dripping wet when he gets back to his car.
Fate must be laughing and pissing on him, because the cute PhD student he’s seen across the tearoom is standing under an awning, watching the rain and sees him, hand raised in an awkward-looking half-wave. Derek looks behind him, wondering who exactly the guy, Stiles, is waving at. (He knows his name because the Biology department have student profiles up in the corridor and he maybe stood and studied Stiles’ one for a minute. Every day. For the last six months.) There’s no-one behind him and he realises that Stiles was maybe waving at him.
He blinks, comes to a standstill and hesitantly waves back, wondering if he’s making a complete fool of himself and Stiles wasn’t actually waving at him. But no, Stiles is now nervously smiling at him and walking toward him. He opens his mouth to say something, stop him, because he’s going to get as drenched as Derek is as it is still raining. Although it’s no longer the huge fat drops of rain but smaller and more persistent, with the previous heat meaning the ground is now steaming.
“Uh, hi… I just wanted to say I have a towel and change of clothes in my lab. If you, uh, want them that is,” Stiles offers, chewing on his lip; Derek swallows, distracted.
“I think you need them yourself…” Also he has his own clothes in the trunk of his car.
“Well, you’re kind of… dripping wet as well.” He licks his lips.
Stiles looks down, as if just realising that he is actually just as wet as Derek.
“Oh. Yeah. I guess I am. It’s raining…”
Derek raises his eyebrows, and he can hear Laura in his head telling him to stop because he apparently has judge-y eyebrows of doom but he’s not, he’s just… enamoured. A lot really.
“Do you –”
“Are you –”
“Sorry, you first.”
He’s pretty sure Stiles is blushing, and he can at least explain away his own warm face with his run. Partially. But it’s the fact that they’re both standing in the rain smiling awkwardly at each other and making small-talk so pathetic it might as well be non-existent that gives him the necessary courage to say what he has wanted to do since he first saw Stiles month ago.
“How about you go and get your change of clothes and come back to my place and get changed… we could get pizza?”
“I, yeah. That sounds… really good. I’ll uh, follow you in my jeep?”
Derek nods decisively, glad because that will give him time to freak out privately in his own car. Stiles tells him to wait in his car and he nods, watches as Stiles runs off in the direction of the graduate labs. He feels slightly dazed and then takes a few steps toward his car, wincing as he sits in wet clothes. He realises he won’t even get a chance to tidy up even a little bit. Maybe he should just drive away now and then never go in the tea room again. It’s not like they’re in the same department.
He sucks in a deep breath and shakes his head, quickly sends a text to Laura telling her he’s not going to make it to dinner. He then has to respond to her ‘you better not be in the lab’ with an ‘I think I have a date’. He ignores his phone when it rings, just grins and lets the butterflies in his stomach swirl as the horn of Stiles’ jeep makes him aware of his presence. He pulls out and makes sure he keeps Stiles’ jeep in his rear-view mirror the whole way home.
He waits for him on the sidewalk, the street lights flickering on in the darkening sky despite it still being six. He’s only slightly stressing about the potential number of dirty dishes that are in his sink, or clothes on his floor. He’s not a slob, but he lives alone and… he wonders if he should ask Stiles to give him a couple of minutes to tidy up. Would that give the wrong message? Or the right message? Fuck.
Of course the rain gets heavier as he stands there, and it’s colder now that the sun is obscured by thick black clouds. Stiles scuttles toward him, body hunched over what Derek assumes are his dry clothes. A flash of lightening brightens the street and they both jump when it’s followed instantly by a crack of thunder.
“Come on, it’s just up here…” He lets Stiles follow him up the stairs over the shop, conveniently a little pizzeria, which while it doesn’t have the best pizza, it’s handy enough that Derek doesn’t care. The sensor lights flick on and Derek pulls out his keys, still undecided about whether to ask Stiles to give him five minutes. He pushes his door open to the sound of more thunder, frowning when the lights in the hallway flicker out. He reaches for the light switch and gets no response. He huffs in amusement because given how his day has gone, of course the bad stuff wouldn’t stop. But Stiles is standing behind him, dripping quietly onto the tiled floor, and somehow he’s more amused than annoyed. Also at least with no lights Stiles won’t be able to see his apartment.
“Uh, so this is my apartment. I think I have some candles around here somewhere. Just… be careful. It’s not the… tidiest.” He’s probably overly paranoid, there’s nothing on the ground as he walks toward the kitchen, using his phone as a light so he can look for the candles.
“It’s okay dude. I live with three other guys. I guess a movie is out of the question though…” He turns to find Stiles right behind him, the only light coming from their phones and it feels weirdly intimate.
“We can… talk though. Get to know each other,” Derek says, and he hates how it almost sounds like a question. But he’s not going to jump the guy
“Yeah. Can I just, I need to clarify something. Is this a date? A totally unconventional, spur-of-the-moment type date, but… still a date. Or did I read this, you, all wrong?”
“It’s a date…” Derek says, unable to help the smile.
“Cool. Good. Cause like, I’ve been wanting to ask you out for ages but at first I just assumed you were with someone, and then I found out you were single, and then you just seemed to avoid me like the plague, and you know, maybe I was contagious for a little period there, but you know… today you looked like a little drenched puppy and I figured maybe I should at least try and say hi. You look less scary when you’re wet. And here I am.”
“Here you are.”
“I think that’s a line from a movie…”
“I – Wait, you think I look scary?”
“You scowl a lot. Today you looked slightly less scary. Thought I’d risk it.”
“I…” Derek’s not sure what to say. “I’m not scary,” he mutters, sulking a bit, because somewhere Laura is cackling with glee. He pulls out the box of candles and matches, wondering how he should fix them so he’s not at risk of burning his apartment down.
“Oh, I figured that out ages ago. That you’re not scary I mean. I saw you feeding your sandwich to the kittens one day, you know the ones that were born under R block? But other times you look like you’re a man on a mission. And that mission may or may not include death, chaos and mayhem. Not necessarily in that order.”
“So I know you’re a marshmallow really.”
He’s glad it’s dark because he’s blushing. And smiling. It’s not often someone who has never even spoken to him seems to know him so well already. He also feels like he’s smiled more in the last hour than he has in weeks.
“So, I’m going to suggest we get dry before we worry about light. I don’t know about you but I’m actually starting to get a little cold, which is a nice change after the last couple of weeks.”
Derek has to agree, pulls his shirt over his head without even thinking and stops midway when he hears a little meep of sound followed by the clatter of Stiles’ phone being dropped. Oh.
“Sorry. I’m used to it just being me here.”
“I, I wasn’t complaining. Just… warn a guy next time? Or not. I kind of like being surprised,” Stiles says as he bends to pick up his phone and Derek isn’t cold at all. Despite everything this seems to be going well. Really well. He excuses himself to find dry clothes, tries to ignore the fact that he can hear Stiles stumbling around his living room as he changes into dry clothes. He quickly sends an update to Laura, confirming that it’s definitely a date, because the last thing he needs is her banging on his door to prove it to him some way.
He picks up an extra hoodie, taking it back out just in case Stiles isn’t warm enough and stops when he sees his living room lit gently by a dozen candles. He holds out the hoodie to Stiles who accepts it gratefully and Derek feels a little thrill at seeing Stiles wearing his clothing. He takes a deep calming breath, tells himself he shouldn’t rush things or get his hopes up, and then asks Stiles what kind of pizza he likes.
They order pizza from a place a few blocks away, one that is fully functional. They sit and eat at the table, before deciding after eating that the sofa is probably more comfortable. Stiles’ feet brush Derek’s and feel icy cold. He gets him some thick socks and brings back a blanket, covers them both as they face each other, knees bent and socked-feet now resting against each other. While the sky flashes bright outside, thunder rumbles and rain beats against the window they talk. They talk so much his throat gets sore and he’s pretty sure he’s going to lose his voice. He doesn’t care.
Later, when the power comes back on, they don’t even notice and end up talking until they fall asleep on the sofa.