This happened because I read too many of halesparkles’ stories and she writes some of the best corporate/human AUs in the whole fandom. This is all her fault.
Title: Not Like Bond & Moneypenny (AKA, the Ugly Betty AU where Stiles is totally Betty.)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski
Notes: First attempt at Sterek and an AU, actually. I listened to this song on repeat while writing so it fits a little.
Summary: Stiles thinks he’s finally getting a break when a job at the sleek, sophisticated, Alpha Magazine opens up - but soon realises he’s not going to be writing anything and instead is playing tutor-slash-babysitter to their new Editor-in-Chief. Derek’s spoiled, grumpy, and so painfully attractive it makes Stiles want to cry… so there’s very little choice in the matter.
Link to Part 1 HERE
Not Like Bond & Moneypenny: Part 2/3
On Monday, after an entire weekend of trying to figure out if Erica’s imagining things, Stiles gets his answer, because Derek acts shifty the entire day and bails on their tutoring session for, what he informs Stiles rather gruffly is, a date.
Yeah, seems real hung-up over Stiles, alright.
He decides not to go down the road of trying to figure out if it’s with a girl or a guy, because that way leads insanity, but instead spends the evening voluntarily playing third wheel to Scott and Allison when she comes over for pizza and 80s movies. He spends the first half of Back To The Future resolutely telling them that nothing is wrong.
On Thursday he’s at his desk, spending the tail-end of his break texting Allison about Scott’s upcoming birthday celebrations and laughing at the prospect of bringing him to a drag show, when a shadow appears over him. It’s Derek, and oh, hey, the glaring’s back.
“Shouldn’t you be, I don’t know, filing or something?” Derek asks, dripping sarcasm. He’s been like this all week, date or not, and Stiles certainly hasn’t been wondering who the hell goes for a date on a Monday anyway.
Stiles darts his gaze to the clock on his monitor, barely acknowledging the Cloud of Grump which is his boss. “Still got five minutes left, man. Just let me finish this text to Allison.”
“We’re not paying you to text your little girlfriend, Stilinski,” is the gritted reply. He’d stopped calling him ‘Stiles’ on Monday, apparently. Stiles wouldn’t really know, because it’s not like he obsesses over things like that, or anything.
“I need you to pull up the interview from last year with Kings of Leon.”
“It’s already on your desk, Derek,” he grouses, frowning up at him. Shit, they’re like, two colours, maybe three. Damn it, stop staring lovingly into your boss’ eyes you idiot. “And… ‘girlfriend’?”
Derek straightens up, looking off to the side. “I assumed… the girl you were with in the-” he starts, before huffing. “It doesn’t matter, I need to get back to work.”
Stiles is still squinting into space when the realisation comes to him. “You think Allison is Erica, and Erica is my girlfriend?” he asks, twirling his finger as he connects the pieces. Derek’s already beginning to walk away as Stiles’ brain catches up. He laughs, causing Derek to freeze and shoot a glare over his shoulder. “Dude, Erica’s practically my sister, and Allison’s disgustingly in love with my step-brother. Also? I’m gay. I thought you knew that.”
Derek’s face registers what can only be described as shock before he trains it into indifference.
“Your personal life is of no concern to me, Stiles,” he says stoically. “And your five minutes are up.”
“I would do dirty, dirty things for frosting this good,” Stiles moans.
He’s sitting on his desk, feet planted on his swivel-chair, and it must be fucking Christmas or something because Lydia has just placed half a box of cupcakes in front of him. Turns out that sending someone at Alpha baked goods is not the way to show appreciation - Sandra had pulled a disgusted face and told Lydia to get rid of them, which, well… she didn’t have to go very far. He’s half-way into his second one and it’s so good he thinks he got just a tiny bit aroused.
“Questionable things,” he elaborates. “Things that are illegal in twenty-seven states.”
“Oh my god, it’s like you’ve just discovered that it feels good when you touch yourself,” Lydia grouses, rolling her eyes before staring at the cupcake in his hand. Stiles gives her a calculating look.
She darts her gaze back to him, flicking her hair back over her shoulder. “Don’t be ridiculous. I’m on a cleanse. Get chunky all you want, see if I care!”
Stiles fakes indignation “Chunky?” he flails, as she gives him a challenging nod, stepping backwards. “I’ll have you know that this bod is a gift from Mother Nature herself. In fact, I’ll just sit here and enjoy my half a box of cupcakes and revel in the fact that you can’t have any.”
She’s already walking away when he finishes, but he goes back to destroying the thing of beauty in his hand. He closes his eyes, moaning loudly for Lydia’s benefit.
“Hnnnng, it’s so fucking good,” he says, grinning around the sponge, “It’s better than sex!”
Of course, this would be the moment Derek chooses to arrive back from his three o’ clock. He’s standing off to the side silently when Stiles opens his eyes, like some huge creeper, and all he can do is freeze with his last bite mid-way too his mouth.
“Hope not,” Derek says, taking in the picture Stiles makes with a masked look of disapproval. He supposes he could be looking a little more professional and business-like right now.
“You said it’s better than-” he starts, before he kind of lets his eyes wander away and shakes his head. It’s the most they’ve spoken in a week that wasn’t about work. “Nevermind. “Where did those come from?”
“Sandra in Fashion got them from,” he closes the box, reading the card slotted on to the outside. “Adam Levine? Ugh,” he says pulling a face. “I wish they weren’t so good, now.”
“Not a fan?” Derek enquires, doing that begrudgingly interested thing again.
“I prefer my bands where the whole band is the focus and not the guy douching it up out front.”
Derek nods, a slight smirk pulling at his stoicism. “Didn’t know you were such a music critic.”
“Well it is my chosen vocation. Believe it or not, this wasn’t my planned career when slogging through a degree and killing myself with deadlines.”
There’s a thoughtful expression on Derek’s features then, and Stiles goes back to organising the remaining cupcakes by flavour and colour. He watches curiously as Stiles concentrates, letting the quiet calm that comes over him when he finds focus tune out the last vestiges of embarrassment. He picks up one and holds it out
“What?” Derek says flatly, eyeing the treat like it’s going to explode in his face.
“I believed I promised obesity in your future. Cupcakes could be a leading factor in that.”
Derek shakes his head. “I’m good.”
“Dude… the frosting alone-” he says, pulling it back towards him and smelling it. “It’s like sweet, buttery crack.”
He rakes a finger through the blue swirl, burying it in his mouth before pulling it out with an audible pop.
“Sweet Willy Wonka….” he mutters, going back for more. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees that Derek’s focus is fully and unrelentingly on the finger disappearing past his lips. He’s got him. “You know you want a taste, man.” Derek gulps, saying nothing until Stiles cocks one eyebrow. “Don’t you?”
Derek meets his eyes at last, blinking twice, three times before leaning over and pulling a vanilla cream out of the box on Stiles’ lap.
“Fine,” he says.
Stiles can’t help but smile triumphantly as he disappears back behind his office door. When he comes back out later and says goodbye for the day, there’s yellow frosting on his upper lip.
It’s two weeks later, and Stiles is IMing with Erica while Derek’s in a meeting.
ER: so how’s operation I’m Not In Love With My Boss coming?
Stiles rolls his eyes before replying.
SS: I’m not in love with him. I just find him aesthetically pleasing. In my pants.
ER: so I imagined the fact that you blew off Beer Jenga night with Scott and Boyd on Thanksgiving weekend to go and help him with layout shit?
SS: we were on a deadline! I have to keep my job, you know.
ER: at 8.30 on a Friday?
SS: shut up, Erica.
ER: you looooove him. *hearts*
ER: it’s ok, he looooves you too. *hearts* *hearts*
The next thing to come through is a crudely-drawn Paint file, which is revealed to be two stick figures, one with glasses, one with scowling brows, biceps and pecs which look alarmingly like breasts, holding hands and surrounded by love-hearts. Stiles is still laughing into his hands when Derek appears, frowning over his desk. He’s been slightly less of an irritable dick this week, but Stiles can’t help but feel like any progress they’d slowly been making has taken two steps back. They still know next to nothing about each other, and he finds himself slightly jealous of the relationship between Isaac and Laura, who are almost too close.
He flails once he sees him, moving to click out of the conversation before he decides to get curious about Stiles personal life which is none of his concern and peer at the screen.
“Something funny?” he asks, brow raised, but with less of a glare. He’s still so ridiculously attractive that the urge to nuzzle his face is as strong as ever. The stubble looks fun.
“Stupid web comics, you know,” he breezes, picking up his frappucino which is now more liquid than anything. “Meeting go okay?”
Derek nods, jerking his head towards the office for Stiles to follow. “Yeah, Laura reminded me of some things, though,” he says cryptically, taking a seat behind the desk.
“Oh?” Stiles frowns, not sure where this is going. He sips on the straw of his drink, waiting expectantly for Derek continue, but all he seems to be doing is stare at Stiles’ mouth. “Derek?”
He jerks slightly, clearing his throat as he braces both palms on the desk. “Yeah, right…” he says, collecting his thoughts. “She said that she promised you that you’d get some experience for your resume, and so far it’s been nearly three months and you haven’t gotten any.”
His brows rise - he’d kind of assumed that they’d forgotten about that, but it’s a pleasant surprise that Laura, goddess of all that is great in his life right now, didn’t let it slip her mind.
“Wow, yeah, that’d be great!” he says, gesturing his hands out in disbelief. ”Feels like forever since I got anything published.”
Derek’s mouth twists. “Well, actually, the first assignment doesn’t come with a byline,” - Stiles smirks, because he totally taught Derek what a byline is - “But you’re gonna be heading out to a listening party with Kings of Leon.” He looks up, gauging Stiles’ reaction. “You like them, right?”
Stiles gapes, brain trying to catch up. “Uh, yeah - how did you know that?”
There’s an awkward shrug. “It’s your ring-tone. Um… one of their songs?”
He laughs, because he’d assigned Sex On Fire to Erica because of that time she thought she had Chlamydia in college. They’re not his favourite band, sure, but it’s kind of fucking endearing that Derek noticed enough to care.
“Sure, I like ‘em,” he smiles.
Derek looks extremely pleased with himself. “Good. You’re heading there tonight with Danny from the entertainment section around eight fifteen.”
“Danny’s coming? Awesome!” he beams, “I love Danny. That’s even better.” The pleased smile on Derek’s face dims slightly.
“Um, okay,” is the mumbled reply. “Lydia’s going to drop a pass by your desk later. I, uh, hope you have fun.”
“Great! Thanks, man,” he says earnestly, already pulling out his phone to make everyone who cares jealous of his awesome life, and just gets a quiet nod in return. It’s uncomfortable for a moment, and Stiles starts to back out of the office slowly.
Derek nods, refusing to look up from the desk.“Sure.”
Danny parties like a motherfucker, even on work nights, and Stiles learns that the guys from Kings of Leon are chill as fuck.
He’s nursing one sneaky little bastard of a hangover the next morning, when Derek walks by his desk without a word. There are about a thousand other things Stiles would rather be doing than running errands - top of the list is lying face down on the floor and making dying frog noises - but the guy did give him a sweet opportunity, and it’s Friday. Only eight more hours until freedom.
When he brings Derek his coffee, he realises he’s not the only one worse for wear - Derek has dark circles under his eyes, is squinting at his monitor like its mission in life is to hurt him, and is chugging water like he’s just come first in a marathon.
“Man, I thought it was just me and Danny who felt like we’ve been trampled by a herd of wildebeest. Serious sympathy for Mufasa right now,” Stiles quips, setting the coffee - cinnamon and caramel - down on Derek’s desk.
He doesn’t say anything, but there’s a soft grunt before Stiles launches into the day’s schedule. It’s not too bad, but right now anything that isn’t lying down and crying into a pillow sounds like torture. When he finishes, Derek’s watching him from the corner of his eye.
“Anything you need before I head out for your dry cleaning?”
“Have a good time last night?” he mutters, not exactly looking interested, but Stiles has been around the guy long enough to know when he’s fishing around for information.
“Oh my god, the best! I had no idea Danny was so crazy! After the press bit we-”
“Good,” Derek cuts in, before Stiles gets to tell him about Danny getting hit on by one of the band’s agents - Gloria - and using his masculine wiles to wrangle an invite to the secret show that weekend. “That’ll be all, Stilinski.”
Derek’s already reverted to glaring and grumpy cat impressions by noon.
Danny stops by while Derek’s off seeing Laura for the obligatory I’m-dying-please-tell-me-you-are-too update. Or maybe it’s just a last-night-was-awesome-let’s-reminisce talk? He looks impossibly smug when Stiles glares at him from under the over-iced Coke Zero (third one today) pressed to his forehead
“Dammit, man, can you at least try to look like you’re feeling as disgustingly bad as I am?” Stiles whines, because Danny looks like he barely missed an hour’s sleep. There’s a small bottle of eye-drops deposited on to his desk as he grumbles, and Danny points to it.
“Secret weapon. Your eyes look like you washed them out with bleach or injected heroin straight in there.” He waves his hand in front of Stiles’ face, and is sudden vertigo a thing?
He gets a particularly cold Stilinski glare in return. Stiles likes to think it’s the same one his dad uses in interrogations, but Allison usually laughs and kisses his cheek when he inflicts it on her. Maybe he should ask Derek for pointers on looks-of-death.
“Well excuse me for not being able to look good after five hours’ sleep and four Jagermeisters. Night cap? I was already two rum and cokes deep, man.”
“It was five, and you’re still alive aren’t you? Anyone would think you’d never been to college,” Danny grins. “So, ready for round two tomorrow night? We have to be at the Highline Ballroom at ten to get in, and you need to wear something that doesn’t have a cartoon character on it.”
Stiles rolls his eyes, not bothering to correct the fact that The Flash is on no planet simply a ‘cartoon character’, but gives a reluctant nod, just as he spies Derek arriving back. He’s wearing a black sweater over his shirt and tie today, and Stiles is pretty sure that Shannon from Editorial just walked into a desk from craning her neck at how fucking delicious he looks.
Stiles feels Shannon’s pain.
“Sure,” he says, only marginally distracted, “But you’ll probably have to call me at seven because once I get home I’m going to sleep until then.”
Danny laughs. “Alright, lightweight, I’ll call you tomorrow so we can talk about it when you’re less woe-is-me.” There’s a judgemental raise of his brow as Derek reaches the desk beside him. “Anyone would think I’m forcing you to come out and spend time with me.”
“I’m perfectly okay with being a shut-in, thank you very much,” he gripes, letting his gaze slide over to Derek, who is making a piss-poor attempt at nonchalantly listening in. “Hey, Chief, ready for lunch?”
He’s studying Danny contemplatively as he nods. “Yeah.”
“‘Chief’?” Danny asks, and Stiles shrugs, a twist on his mouth.
“Yeah, thought I could pull that off, but it came out a little too Jimmy Olsen, right?” he cringes, earning an amused nod from Danny and concurring grunt from Derek.
”Alright, looks like you need to do some actual work. I’ll see you tomorrow - I’m done for the day at two,” Danny informs with a smirk, because he’s an asshole.
“I hate you,” Stiles groans, and Danny just laughs.
“Stop lying to yourself, Stiles.”
He’s gone after that, and Derek’s still hovering around, just looking. Stiles flinches back to action once he remembers that he’s actually getting paid to be here.
“Okay, I was thinking of picking up a Franco’s today. Something about a gourmet meatball sub on a Friday gives me heart-flutters,” he smiles. Derek just shrugs and makes his way back towards the office.
They’re hovering around the back of the crowd, waiting for the band, and Stiles is actually having a pretty great time. It’s almost midnight, he’s barely tipsy, and Danny’s a lot of fun - even when he’s not pouring drinks down Stiles’ neck.
“So you wanted to get into music journalism after you graduated? How come you took the job at Alpha?” he asks, sipping his drink and looking at Stiles like he’s the most interesting person in the room
He shrugs. “Well, it started out because I needed the money… now, though? I don’t know, I guess I like it there. Most of the people still look at me like they’re not sure how I function… but I’m sort of used to that.”
Danny’s dimples are back full-force as he leans against the bar. “Yeah, you’re pretty unique, alright,” he says.
“I’ll take that as a compliment,” Stiles smirks.
“It was meant to be,” Danny replies easily, as if people say stuff like that to each other all the time.
Stiles busies himself with his drink as he contemplates whether he’s still terrible at realising when he’s being flirted with. Sometimes, he wishes people would just come out and say ‘I like you and want in your pants’, because one can never really tell.
“So how come you’re not seeing anybody?” Danny enquires, breaking his concentration. He’s standing close and contemplating Stiles with a soft smile on his face. It’s not unpleasant, but he can feel his cheeks flushing slightly under the unusual scrutiny - Danny is gorgeous, and it’s not like Stiles hasn’t noticed. He gapes for a few seconds before shrugging shyly.
“Don’t know, man. Guess nobody’s realised how fantastic I am yet,” he jokes, because it’s downright depressing that Stiles’ last steady relationship was in sophomore year of college. “One day my prince will come.”
Danny rolls his eyes, giving him a light shove as he turns back towards the stage. In his pocket, there’s an insistent vibration which Stiles is just now realising is his phone, and not the final sound-check going on in front of them vibrating through his pants. He frowns at the screen - it’s Derek - and he holds it up to Danny with a scowl as the crowd begins cheering. The band’s about to come on, so Stiles points towards the smoking area with an apologetic look on his face. Danny just shrugs and gives him an easy smile.
“Derek?” Stiles asks as soon as he answers, trying to keep the irritation out of his voice. It’s Saturday night, dammit, and it’s not like Derek’s been inviting any favours with the way he’s been acting since Thursday. “Why are you calling me?”
“Is this Stiles?” and unfamiliar voice says, and his heart starts pounding.
“Yeah, who’s this?! Is Derek okay?”
“Don’t worry, technically he’s fine - just drunk as shit,” the guy snorts, and Stiles frowns. “I’m Ben, I bounce at Narnia, in the Meatpacking district?”
“Sure, I know it,” Stiles replies, now more confused than anything. It does not escape his attention that Narnia is a gay club, either. “Why are you calling me, Ben?”
“Because your friend Derek tried to get in tonight, but he’s so wasted he can barely stand and there’s nobody with him.” Stiles finds his body relaxing a little, but it still doesn’t clarify why this guy’s calling him. “He got a little mouthy too, but I know him through some mutual people, so I didn’t really want to have to call the cops on him,” Ben explains, and Stiles’ confusion ebbs away. “He’s coming around, but it’d be great if someone could take him the fuck home.”
Stiles sighs wearily as his hand finds his hair on reflex. “Sure, I’ll come get him, he’s safe, right?”
“I’ve got him propped up inside the doors, it’s fine. Just ask for me when you get here.”
He sends Danny an apologetic text on his way, explaining what’s going on and feeling like a complete asshole. After a few minutes, the reply comes.
Don’t worry about it, Cinderella. Shouldn’t have asked if you’re seeing someone…Clearly you’re already in an extremely serious relationship. ;)
Derek? Please. It’s professional.
Nobody ditches a night off for a favour, no matter how much they’re getting paid. I know married people who wouldn’t do it. It’s okay, I’ll keep your secret…
Think you’re clever?
Hey, my sort-of date bailed on me for another guy. I’m allowed to interfere a little.
Stiles hadn’t been aware that it was even kind-of-a date, but then again, Danny hadn’t written it across his forehead in red marker.
Nothing’s happening with us, but I’m sorry, man. :(
Nothing YET. And it’s fine. Go pick up your boozy floozy.
Derek has his head resting back against the wall and looks oddly pleased for someone with a busted lip. Stiles throws a glare at Ben when he comes to a stop in front of him, crouching to get a better look at the cut, and Derek fixes his eyes on Stiles’ face.
“Thought you said he was fine?” Stiles demands, straightening back up and gesturing towards Derek, who’s just watching the flail of his hands lazily. Ben is around the same size as Boyd, but it doesn’t mean he should get away with hitting anyone.
“I said he was drunk and mouthy,” Ben shrugs. “It’s not my fault he talked someone into socking him in the face before I got to him.”
“Stiiiiles,” Derek slurs, swaying forward in his seat to pull Stiles’ attention away, and fix his eyes on him again. They’re definitely two different colours; brown leading outwards into blue-grey - like Derek Hale needed any more defining characteristics to enhance his looks. He’s devastatingly gorgeous in pressed black pants, a white shirt and black skinny-tie, but worst of all is the leather jacket. Stiles never told anyone about his classic bad-boy fetish, but with the tousled hair and stubble…everyone has to have a self-destructive tendency, right?
Derek points an accusing finger towards Ben. “They wouldn’t lemme in to thuh-”
“I know, man,” Stiles sighs, completely sober after the cab over here - which he’s totally charging to the company on Monday - and still feeling guilty about Danny. “Come on, I think you’re done for the night.”
There’s a small crease between his brows as he looks up, and his gaze is wide but sleepy, like freakin’ Boo from Monsters Inc. “B’you just got here. Don’tcha wanna stay?”
Stiles doesn’t think it’s fair that Derek manages to be sexy as all hell some days, and remind him of the cutest Pixar character ever on others. Like he could even stand a chance against that face.
“I want to make sure you get home safe, is what I want,” Stiles says irritably, wrapping Derek’s arm around his shoulders and grabbing his waist. It’s completely inappropriate how distracted he is by the thickness of the arm and how warm and firm Derek’s torso feels under his jacket, but powering through is a little difficult. Especially when he looks up, and Derek’s smiling dopily down at him like he’s a really nice present he wasn’t expecting. He rolls his eyes, throwing Ben a wave of thanks as they’re let out the door of the club to the waiting cabs
“You’re a good guy, Stiles,” Derek observes, and Stiles looks back up to see him now watching fondly. They’re so close that Stiles can smell the whisky on his breath as it blooms over his face.
“Yep, so I’ve heard,” he says tightly. making their way to the top of the queue of taxis.
“I told that guy…. that guy Ben? I said-” Derek begins, his head lolling with emphasis on his sentences. “I said ‘call Stiles’. Because he’ll get me. Stiles is awesome-” he stops to raise his brows earnestly at him, “‘Cuz you are…like Batman.Awesome like Batman.”
“Christian Bale’s Batman?” Stiles asks, trying to keep Derek’s attention while he manoeuvres him around. He actually looks thoughtful for a second. “Kinda.. little Adam West too, though. No Clooney.” He actually seems to find that funny, and the dopey grin becomes amused.
The bad mood Stiles has been in threatens to lift at how earnest Derek sounds, stalwartly maintaining eye contact now (and seemingly there’s at least a passing interest in Batman, which, ugh), but he shakes his head as he sets the inebriated idiot down on the back seat. He then circles around to get in the other side, closes the door, gives the driver Derek’s address and turns to him.
“Damn right, I’m Batman. I’m already giving up any hopes of a love life to help the poor, drunk-off-their-ass citizens of the city,” he grouses, but Derek’s frowning through the windshield.
“Takin’ me to my home?” Derek says, his head cocking to the side. Stiles wrinkles his nose, holding out his hands.
“Well, yeah. I’m hardly taking you to my home,” he responds, and Derek’s brows lift. “Dude, I live in Brooklyn, why the hell would I take you there?”
“Dunno,” Derek shrugs. before seeming to realise what Stiles had said. He leans his head back on the seat and sends a sour look out of the corner of his eye. ”You were out with uh,“ he says, “with Danny,” like the name tastes bad.
“Maybe? I thought it was none of your business.” Stiles retorts stiffly, because there is no way Derek dislikes Danny - everybody loves Danny. There’s a shrug in response.
“‘S’not,” he says, turning his face out the window. “He called The Flash a ‘cartoon character’.” There’s several minutes of silence while he mulls over that one, and where he thinks Derek’s fallen asleep. Suddenly the drunkard turns, regarding him curiously, and then cocks his brow. “Still came, though.”
“Huh?” Stiles replies, realising that without alcohol, staying up past one a.m. isn’t all that easy anymore.
“You came,” Derek says, closing his eyes. That jawline is worthy of sonnets, and Stiles tries not to let his gaze linger too much, but Derek’s face relaxes in sleep in a way that doesn’t seem possible when he’s scowling. It’s impossible to look away. “Came t’get me.” And then he’s out.
When they pull up outside Derek’s Upper East Side apartment building, Stiles helps him out of the cab, pays the driver, and introduces himself to the door man. He’s never been here before, but figures this might not be the last time he has to visit Derek at home.
“Yes, you’re already on the list for approved access, Mr. Stilinski,” Doug, the elderly guy says, shooting Derek a glance as he sways on his feet. “It’s nice to see someone taking care of him.” Derek’s already standing by the elevator, trying to shrug off the leather jacket that Stiles will probably imagine tugging on the collar of later when he’s alone and it’s safe. “There’s been a lot of unsavoury sorts swarming around him lately,” Doug confides.
Stiles wasn’t aware anyone used the word ‘unsavoury’ any more, but it’s pretty sweet how concerned the guy seems. He smiles warmly and makes his way to where Derek is stabbing the button repeatedly and grunting at it, trying to make the elevator speed up.
The door opens and he walks in, turning to Stiles, who is following. “Coming up?” he says, swaying and still not quite on top of the whole walking thing yet, but his speech is clear. Stiles nods.
“I have to make sure you get in okay, don’t I?” he says, a little harsher than he means to and turns to face the doors. Derek is staring again. Stiles lets it go for a few minutes before the tension gets to him, and he glances back. “What?”
“You gonna stay?” Derek asks, and he’s looking at Stiles, openly cataloging his face and his body in a way that can only be interpreted as want.
The doors open, and he steps backwards out of the elevator into a beautiful, avant-garde foyer. It’s not quite minimalist, but still modern, masculine and lived-in, and there’s raw art on the walls instead of ornate frames. One wall has been stripped bare to the brick-work, giving the place a loft-like feel, and the furniture is plain and functional, but looks comfortable. There are books everywhere, shelved in different cubbies and in cases. Of course, it’s the penthouse, and Derek’s got the entire floor. Stiles finds himself involuntarily entering; the sights of that stunning apartment and the gorgeous man within - who is now dropping various pieces of clothing as he walks - taking over control of his feet.
“This place is-” he turns his gaze away as Derek gets down to his undershirt and grabs the hem. “Dude, what are you doing?”
It’s looking dangerously like a strip-tease and Stiles is dangerously close to fainting.
“Gettin’ ready for bed,” he says easily, giving Stiles another one of those looks, but he drops his hands. “You’re staying, right?”
Stiles jaw gapes. “Um, I wasn’t planning on it,” he replies. voice tight, and Derek takes a deliberate step closer.
“Why not? Want you to,” he says, breath on Stiles’ face, letting his mouth quirk up on one side, an expression that makes his heart pound - but it feels wrong. The whole thing feels too easy, planned. Does everything in Derek’s life come like this?
“How did you know I was out ‘with’ Danny tonight?” he asks as Derek reaches a finger up to lightly trace his cheekbone, and the dopily pleased expression melts back into confusion. He pulls his hand away.
“No, I didn’t - because I wasn’t even aware it was a date until I was on it.”
Derek takes a step back and throws out a shoulder; a defensive shrug . “Guess I heard him talking to you…at the office? Sounded like a date, I dunno…. look, you gonna stay?”
“People don’t say ‘no’ to you very often, do they?” Stiles blurts, instantly cringing that he’d voiced the realisation the second it went through his head - but there was something in it. Derek had taken Stiles away from what he knew was a date, and been in the kind of situation where he couldn’t be left by himself, all so Stiles would look after him. With his looks and money, it didn’t seem like Derek was ever turned down much, and he used it to his advantage - like he was trying to now.
Derek’s face darkens. “’S that supposed to mean?”
“Why am I here, Derek? You’ve had me all over this island tonight and now you want me to stay… but why?”
There’s a pregnant pause while Derek just blinks at him, microexpressions forming on his face as his mouth begins to form aborted words. After a strange second where Derek’s eyes roam over his face, he shrinks backwards to lean on the back of his couch. “This place is too big.”
A frown covers Stiles’ features for a beat, and he shift his feet, closing his arms. “What are you talking about?”
A look of pain comes over Derek’s face and his mouth contorts in thought. “Bought this place for me and Jackson. Thought we-” There’s a heavy sigh, and then he’s looking at his feet. “B’he’s not here, and I fucking hate coming home when he’s…” he trails off, squeezing his eyes shut and buries a hand in his hair.He’s still slurring a little, the more he talks, and swaying where he leans. “I’m so fucking drunk.”
There’s something melting inside of Stiles at the display, and he finds himself unzipping his jacket, taking it off and laying it over the back of the couch. Derek watches him with interest, eyes darting back up to his face with a question in them.
“If you’re lonely, all you had to do was say.”
Derek’s eyes squeeze shut and he shakes his head. “‘m not lonely, I-”
“Do you want me to stay, or not?”
Derek is quiet then, just giving him a curt nod of agreement.
“Okay, then. But there’s no funny-business. I’m a person of virtue - plus I’m mainly here to put you to bed and make sure you don’t attempt to go back out and pick up some loose-moraled socialite. You can’t be trusted.” Derek pulls a face, and Stiles is only very slightly disappointed that he doesn’t protest the no-funny-business rule. Slightly.
“Which way’s your room?”
When Derek collapses on to the bed, miraculously wearing clothes, he thanks Stiles genuinely.
“Sorry…ruined your date,” he murmurs sleepily, but Stiles doesn’t correct him. So maybe he’d realised he wasn’t exactly into Danny like that, but it was still wrong of Derek to interfere. “Went out t’see some friends, but he was there. ‘S like he got ‘em all in the divorce.”
Stiles frowns, and his brain slots together the fragmented pieces of information Derek’s drunk mind is revealing.
“So I just started drinking, wasn’t really thinking straight,” he says, shifting in the sheets. Stiles is just hovering near the light, not ready to turn it off when this is the most information that’s been volunteered in all the time they’ve known each other. “I like you, Stiles. Even though I don’t get you, mostly.”
“There’s not much to ‘get’,” he replies confusedly, watching Derek’s face even out into sleep.
He gives a half-hearted shrug. “Thought I got Jackson. Was wrong. He jus’ wanted my sister’s…wanted my job.” There’s a span of silence punctuated by Derek’s relaxed breaths, and he moves his arm up under the pillow. “Thought he loved me.”
Stiles isn’t sure what he’s supposed to say, but doesn’t get much of a chance before Derek drifts off to sleep.
“I deserve a fucking medal,” he groans the next morning, as Allison sets breakfast down in front of him. Scott’s sitting opposite, already shovelling bacon into his mouth and chewing with all the grace of a llama.
“So you just slept on the couch?” she asks, pulling out the chair next to him and sitting down. “Wasn’t it awkward when you woke up?”
Stiles is sheepish. “Well, I kind of bailed before daylight, just left some aspirin and water by his bed and a got the fuck out of there.” She gives him a disapproving look over her coffee cup. “I didn’t want him to be embarrassed!” he flails.
“Won’t it be kind of weird when you go to work tomorrow?” Scott asks, pointing out the obvious as usual.
“Very weird,” Allison agrees, turning back to Stiles. “How are you going to handle this?”
“I thought I’d just ignore it and see where that gets me…” Even Scott looks judgemental now. “Alright, so I didn’t really think that far. I’m just going to see how he sets the tone and take his lead.”
“Well at least you didn’t let him bone you,” Scott, ever Mr. Brightside, points out. He squints. “You sure you didn’t let him bone you?”
Stiles is aghast. “Dude! Give me some credit - I actually want to keep my job.”
Scott holds up his hands placatingly. “Just checking. I mean, come on, you’ve talked about nothing but how hot this dude is for months.”
“The sexual tension alone must be choking your co-workers,” Allison teases, but Stiles shakes his head.
“Totally not like that,” he maintains, “It’s not like we’re Bond and Moneypenny.”
Scott gives him an excited grin, chuckling. “Dude, you’re totally his Miss Moneypenny!” he says, eyes wide like the world just finally started to make sense. “You’re the only one who won’t sleep with him even though you’re dying to.”
Stiles rolls his eyes, begrudgingly proud that Scott made the connection all by himself, as Allison joins in laughing.
“Come on, guys, he’s actually a pretty good guy… I think. I didn’t wanna fuck things up and sleep with him just because he didn’t feel like going home alone one time. Even if he was totally DTF. I have some self-respect.”
Allison smirks. “So tell us again about how you figured out his brand of cologne?”
“You’re a mean one, Ms. Argent,” he grouses, betrayed.
It turns out that weird, overly-revealing conversations are the least of their problems on Monday, when Stiles meets a thoroughly-freaked Isaac by Lydia’s desk.
“What’s with the security detail?” Stiles asks, approaching them. “Bomb threat?”
“Someone broke into Laura’s apartment last night. They’re checking the office to make sure nothing happened here,” she supplies.
“Shit, that’s gotta suck. She alright?”
Isaac nods. “She wasn’t home, but nothing was stolen, so the police think they were there for her, and not your average burglary.” He gives a shrug, eyes wide. “Cameras didn’t pick up anything, and it was when the security in her building went on break, so it looks like whoever it was planned it out.”
“Alright, officially creeped out,” Stiles shudders. “They have any leads?”
“Not that we’ve heard,” Lyda informs. “Ugh, it’s like just when things here have settled after Mr. Hale, this happens.”
Laura passes then, talking quietly to Derek and giving the three of them a wan smile. Derek follows her gaze, quickly averting it when he sees Stiles and following his sister through the foyer.
“What was that about? And was that a busted lip?” Lydia probes, eyeing Stiles in that if-you-dare-lie-to-me-I-will-hurt-you way.
Stiles mouth dips on one side. “Uhh… nothing?” Isaac folds his arms and leans back, a small frown on his face. “Alright so I may have had to go pick up a certain drunk Editor-in-Chief on Saturday night and put him to bed. I think he’s having flashbacks.” He takes in the gleeful expression on Lydia’s face and points at her warningly. “And if you so much as breathe a word I will replace all your shoes with Crocs. Do not test me.”
She smirks and holds up her hands. “Fine, chill. I won’t say anything. So is that all that happened?” she probes, and the image of Derek leaning over him, almost nose-to-nose filters in and out of his mind.
“Yep,” he replies tightly. “I guess he’s just kind of embarrassed.” Lydia doesn’t look sold, but the phone’s ringing and she leans back in her chair to answer it. Stiles avoids Isaac’s curious expression and makes his excuses to leave.
Derek’s talking to one of the new security agents when Stiles brings his coffee, and he nods distractedly as he sips at it. He looks stressed and uncomfortable, and the look on his face is one that Stiles has come to really hate.
When the guard leaves, Stiles takes the opportunity to ask about Laura.
“She’s pretty shaken up. I guess she was lucky. I just wish the fucking cops had more to go on,” he snarls, fierce protection coming out in his voice.
“My dad’s a detective,” Stiles volunteers. “I’m sure they’re doing everything they can.”
Derek looks slightly ashamed as he nods. “Yeah, sorry. I just don’t like this. It’s just me and her, you know?” he says, slumping into his chair. Stiles nods, understanding. For a long time, it was just him and his dad before he married Melissa, and Stiles spent too many sleepless nights waiting for him to get home.
“You weren’t there when I woke up yesterday,” Derek says, his gaze drawn to the computer.
Stiles scratches the back of his head nervously. “Uh yeah, I had to get home, you know? Plus, I wasn’t sure how much you’d remember, and I didn’t want things to be…” he trails off, and Derek nods, mouth pulled taught.
“Yeah. Thanks, though, for… you know.”
“Sure, it’s my job, right?”
Derek looks at him. “Right.”
Harris is on the warpath when he shows up at Stiles’ desk a week later.
“Are you completely fucking incompetent, or did you just screw your way into this job like every other assistant Hale has?” he demands, and Stiles can do nothing but blink at him as everyone passing by stops to look.
“The Dior files,” he grounds out, like Stiles is deaf or maybe just stupid. “Finstock in Accounting and I were supposed to have a copy of the amendments a fucking week ago, they tell me, and we never got them because they came in through this office, and you, you little prick, never sent them on!”
Stiles is just frowning in shock when Derek steps out of the office. “What the hell is going on?” he booms, causing Harris to bolt upright.
“I’m exposing your little secretary here for the dumbass he is. We’re being threatened with legal action from one of the most important accounts we have for breach of contract,” he seethes, stabbing the air by Stiles’ face.
Derek frowns, throwing a disbelieving look towards Stiles. “Which account?” he asks.
“Dior. Even if they don’t sue our asses, we’re probably going to lose thousands of dollars in advertising for one monumental screw-up,” Harris fumes.
Derek’s face pales, and he pulls a hand to his forehead. “Holy shit— It isn’t Stiles’ fault,” he says, eyes glazing over and a pinch appearing in his brow. “I finished with the contract and sent them on to Finstock’s assistant myself - I must have forgotten to CC your department in the mail… It’s my fault, my screw-up.”
Harris gapes, not exactly brave enough to insult his boss, and the CEO’s brother. Still, Greenberg was so getting chewed out for this. He should have at least gotten the contract - and caught the mistake and sent it on to Legal.
“Stiles, get me on the phone with them right away, I’ll see how I can handle this,” he says distractedly, before turning to Harris once more. “But you? Where the fuck do you get off speaking to another human being that way? Regardless if we dropped the ball, shouldn’t someone from Accounts or Legal have followed up on the contract before going to print?” he demands, and Harris seems decidedly less articulate. Derek leans a hand on the back of Stiles’ chair and fixes a harsh look at the other man.“Screw-up or not, we treat everyone here with a little fucking respect. I expect you to apologise to him for what you said.”
Stiles hands freeze over the keyboard as he looks back up between Harris and Derek. Harris is practically puce under the collar of his shirt. “It was an easy assumption to make-” he starts, but Derek just glares back. After an uncomfortable moment, her looks back at Stiles. “I apologise for what I said.”
Stiles is catching Erica up with events over lunch a few days later.
“Sounds like you bring out the alpha male in him,” she teases around her sandwich, eyes bright.
“Oh ha-ha, I was wondering how long the puns would take,” he retorts, giving her a narrow-eyed smile. “He was just being a good boss, taking responsibility for the mistake. Any decent human would.”
“You’d be surprised,” she comments, sipping on water. “So things are alright between you two after the whole sleep-over?”
“Yeah, seem to be. He’s been less growl-y around me lately. He’s even set a couple assignments for the January issue so I can build up my portfolio…and he always seems to magically need to be somewhere else when Danny comes up to talk to me.”
“Like it makes him uncomfortable?” she asks, her face calculating, but Stiles shakes his head.
“I think it’s more like he’s trying to make up for ruining our ‘first date’, like he’s giving us privacy because he’s cool with it.”
“So you haven’t bothered telling him that you and Danny aren’t together?”
“Tried to,” he shrugs, “But any time I try and weave Danny into the conversation he just changes the subject. I’m not sure what more I could do.”
Erica’s chewing thoughtfully when Stiles notices something at the corner of his vision. It’s Jackson, across the street in a heated argument with an older man. He’s gesturing wildly and holding his phone, voice obviously raised but out of hearing-distance. The guy is latino, tough-looking, and is glaring back at Jackson like his eyes alone could kill him.
She follows his gaze in the silence until her head jerks back in confusion. “Isn’t that Derek’s ex?” she asks, and Stiles nods distractedly. “Who’s the serial killer?” she quips.
“No idea, but it’s weird, right?” he asks, and she’s nodding as she stares. Her eyes widen slightly and she turns back. Stiles follows suit and sees the moment Jackson spots him, stiffening slightly and saying something before the two separate.
“Crap, Machete’s coming this way,” she says, picking up her water. They’re sitting by the window, so are close enough to the sidewalk to get a good look at the guy as he passes the cafe. Stiles glances up, and catches sight of a tattoo on the man’s neck - one he’s seen before. His eyebrows rise.
“Holy shit, that guy’s in a gang,” he hisses, and Erica’s mouth forms an ‘o’. “I’ve snooped on enough of my dad’s case reports to recognise that tattoo on his neck,” he explains, hands fluttering over the area by his collar. “Those guys don’t fuck around, either.”
“Shit,” she says, “What do you think it means?”
Stiles is thoughtful for a moment, vague facts and suspicions clicking into place. “I’m not sure, but I get the feeling that the break-in at Laura’s definitely wasn’t random,” he says gravely.