Derek Hale loved being in a fraternity. When he’d first arrived and joined one, he had loved every moment of it. There were pranks and parties, sure, but he also liked the solidarity and support, the brotherhood that came with a fraternity. The people who lived together weren’t friends, they were family. Brothers. And for someone like Derek, who had lost most of his family in a fire at a young age, having an entire house of brothers was a welcome experience.
He had gone through all of the same pledges every other person in his fraternity had, from embarrassing, to dangerous, to downright cruel. He hadn’t agreed with them all, but he had wanted to be a part of Alpha-Beta-Omega so badly that he’d gone ahead and done it.
Now, as a senior and having taken up the mantle of leading the next generation in the fraternity, he wished there were some aspects of the place that he could change. He wasn’t in charge though, so he could only sit back and watch as the traditions continued, just as embarrassing, dangerous and cruel as they had always been.
Yes, Derek loved his fraternity and everything that came with it, but if there was one thing about his fraternity he hated, it was one very specific pledge that occurred every year. And it was also the one pledge he had done and wished every day he could take back.
One of the last pledges that he’d been forced to do in his freshman year was one of the cruel ones and back then, it hadn’t seemed so bad. There was a dorm down the road that tended to be filled with students who couldn’t afford to live in the more popular dorms or in any of the fraternities. It was known as “Trash House” because only the poorest and lamest of people lived in that dorm.
Derek was honest in saying he wasn’t a particularly smart person, and at the time, he’d wanted so badly to get into the frat that he and the others had agreed to the last pledge. They had one month to get one of the members of Trash House to fall for them, and had to take a video of them doing the nasty.
Harmless fun, and definitely not anything non-consensual. Just a video of two people going at it, no big deal.
They hadn’t been allowed to choose their partners, which probably would’ve solved a lot of problems if they had, because two of the other pledges had backed out of being in the frat and gone along to live elsewhere. The others had all agreed, and Derek had been given his target: Mieczyslaw Stilinski, also known as Stiles.
He was also a freshman, a sheriff’s son from a small town whose mother had passed away from cancer when he was fairly young. He’d gotten in on a scholarship, was incredibly hyperactive, and one of the kindest people Derek had ever met.
So of course, when he had sex with him and the video ended up leaked—as was the plan from the upperclassmen all along—Stiles wanted absolutely nothing to do with him ever again.
And Derek understood that, he did. The only problem was: Derek had kind of fallen for him in that one month they’d been together, and even now, three years later, with only a few months to graduation, he still hadn’t been able to stop thinking about him.
He wished things had turned out differently. Wished he’d just been smart like the other two and dropped out. He could’ve met Stiles in a different setting, they could’ve gotten together normally, been happy. He could’ve spent the past three years dating Stiles, instead of pining from afar and knowing he would never again have the chance.
And the absolute worst part of all of this was that one of the pledges who’d dropped out had ended up becoming close friends with him and was dating the girl who would’ve been his target. He had literally turned his nose up at the horrible pledge and walked out the door, only to end up dating an amazing woman and being friends with the best person in the world two months later.
Derek didn’t miss the irony, and a part of him truly wondered if he could’ve bagged Stiles had he only not been a colossal douche.
But that had been three years ago. They were both older, now. Wiser. More mature. And they were going to be graduating soon and Derek would never see him again. He didn’t want to end things with Stiles like this, he wanted to do whatever it took to earn his forgiveness. He wanted just one more chance with him, and he was willing to do anything to get it.
Derek leaned back against a tree beside the Chemistry building, playing HayDay on his phone and glancing up every few minutes to check that class was still in session. He was in the middle of selling wool in his store when the doors opened and people began to file out. Shoving his phone back into his pocket, he craned his neck to catch sight of who he was waiting for, and smiled before rushing forward, moving quickly between bodies until he was in step with Stiles, rooting through his bag and muttering to himself.
He heard a long, drawn out sigh from beside him, but Stiles didn’t look over, still searching for something in his bag. “Hello Derek.”
“How was class?” he asked, quickening his step when Stiles tried to walk faster. It was kind of adorable, since Derek was taller than him and would have no trouble catching up.
“Class was fine, Derek.” Stiles zipped his bag up and rearranged the strap on his shoulder, looking straight ahead while they both walked towards the road. Derek knew Stiles had another class across campus in fifteen minutes, so there was no way for him to escape him. For the next fifteen minutes, he had Stiles’ attention, whether the other wanted to give it to him or not.
“Headed to Psych, then?”
“Yes, Derek.” Stiles said through gritted teeth.
Derek just smiled pleasantly, hands in his pockets. “Great. I was heading that way, too. I’ll walk you.”
Stiles turned to shoot him a glare, but Derek ignored it and just followed along beside him. He loved the way Stiles always said his name at the end of every answer, even though he knew that Stiles only said it because it was hard and cold and meant to try and dehumanize him. Or so someone else in the frat had told him. Derek didn’t care either way, he just loved hearing it come out of Stiles’ mouth, no matter how it sounded.
“So, we’re graduating this year. Crazy. It’s been a great four years.”
“Some moments definitely better than others,” Stiles muttered under his breath. “Like the times you actually left me alone.”
“And I get that. I do. Mea culpa. But I was thinking—”
“I haven’t even said anything yet,” Derek insisted.
“Come on, Stiles,” Derek said, quickening so he could move in front of Stiles and walking backwards, giving him a pitiful look. “I’ve apologized so many times my sister thinks I’ve been taken over by an alien. You have no idea how happy you made me when we were together.”
Stiles gave him an insulted look, stopping in his tracks. “We were never together, Derek! You were using me to get into a frat because I was one of the pledges you had to pass!” Stiles motioned between the two of them. “There was never an ‘us’ here. You made sure of that when you recorded us having sex and then shared it with all your buddies.”
Stiles shouldered him hard on his way by and Derek gave a frustrated sound, rolling his head back and then turning to chase after Stiles. He moved in front of him again, walking backwards, and trying to force Stiles to look at him, even though the other was doing a spectacular job of pretending he didn’t exist.
“Stiles, I am sorry about what I did. I am, I truly am. I was young, and stupid, and desperate. I wanted to be in Alpha-Beta-Omega so bad that I didn’t think. I have been trying for three years to make it up to you.” He stopped and grabbed Stiles arm, forcing him to stop as well. Stiles wrenched it free and turned to him, glaring. “Stiles, I’m sorry. I am so, so sorry for what happened. If I could take it all back, I would. I would go back, stop myself from making the biggest mistake of my life, and I would do this the right way. But this isn’t Harry Potter, and I don’t have a time turner.”
“Using what I love against me isn’t going to win you any points,” Stiles said dryly.
Derek took a deep breath and clenched his jaw, then dropped to his knees. Stiles’ head jerked back and he looked around nervously while Derek put his hands together and stared up at him.
“Stiles. I will do anything. Anything. Just give me one more chance, let me do this right, and I promise I will make it up to you. Just one chance. Please.”
Stiles eyed him, on his knees in front of him, begging like he needed this to live, and Derek knew he’d won when a small smile teased the corners of Stiles’ lips.
“Anything?” Stiles asked.
“Yes,” Derek affirmed. “Anything.”
Stiles stuck his tongue against his cheek, pushing it out a bit then nodded. “All right. Here’s the deal. I’m going to have my own pledges for you. Things you have to do in order to earn my favour and get back in my good graces. You complete five of them, and I’ll go on a date with you. One date.” Stiles emphasized, holding up his index finger. “You complete ten of them, I’ll go on two.”
“How many are you giving me?” Derek asked with a frown.
“I’ll be generous and give you fifty so you can pick and choose how badly you really want this date.”
“And if I do all fifty?” Derek asked, getting back to his feet. “What then?”
“You won’t,” Stiles insisted with a frown.
“But if I do?” Derek pressed.
Stiles eyed him suspiciously, crossing his arms over his chest and frowning. “If you complete all fifty, I’ll believe you’re sincere with your apology and we can give this another go. But you won’t make it. I know you won’t.”
“We’ll see.” Derek grinned, walking backwards away from him and pointing one finger at him. “This is a deal, Stilinski. I do all fifty, and we give it another go. No backing out!”
“You won’t do all fifty!” Stiles insisted, but Derek just grinned and turned to jog away, feeling hopeful for the first time in over three years.
He knew he wasn’t going to like the list, and he would really have to do some soul searching depending on what he found, but he was determined. Stiles had been the first person to put a smile on his face since his family had died. The month with him had been the start of a very long healing process, and even his sister had told him he was a different person.
Derek should’ve clued in then that Stiles was a keeper, that he should’ve flipped off the fraternity and stayed with him, but he knew that would’ve come crashing down eventually, too. Word would’ve gotten out he was with Stiles for a pledge and he would’ve lost him. He could’ve gotten him back more easily if that were the case, given he’d have foregone being in the frat to be with Stiles, but it was too late to dwell on it now.
He had fifty pledges coming his way, and he was determined to get them all.
Stiles would be his before the end of the year.
Derek was sitting at his desk in his room, working on his Calculus homework and getting more and more frustrated by the second when there was a knock at his door. He grunted for whoever it was to enter and Boyd stuck his head into the room.
“Hey, you’ve got a traitor here to see you.”
“What?” Derek asked, distracted but also confused once the words set in. By the time he turned around, Boyd had already left so he just tossed his pen down and stood, heading for the stairs. When he reached the bottom and rounded the corner to the front door, he was startled at who he found waiting for him.
Scott McCall’s eyebrows rose in surprise. “You remember me?”
“We pledged together, yeah I remember you.” Derek walked up to him, crossing his arms. “What’s up? What are you doing here?”
“Playing gopher.” The man sighed and held out a folded piece of paper.
The second he saw it, Derek realized he should’ve figured. Scott was the pledge who’d bailed at the last second, started dating his target at Trash House—Allison Argent—and become best friends with Stiles. If anyone out of all of Stiles’ friends was going to have the balls to walk up to Alpha-Beta-Omega and deliver a note, it was Scott McCall.
“Thanks.” Derek took the folded piece of paper, but didn’t open it. “I’m guessing he told you about our deal.”
“He did, but he’s also adamant you won’t succeed.” Scott crossed his arms and shrugged. “Honestly, looking at some of the things on the list, I can’t say I blame him.”
“How bad did he make it?”
“Well, in terms of embarrassment, ours was nowhere near as bad as his is,” Scott said with a laugh. “But like I said, he stuck more to embarrassing and left out the dangerous and cruel. Stiles is pissed, not evil. Unlike people here.” Scott motioned the area with a jerk of his chin.
Derek nodded, playing with the edge of the page for a few seconds.
“You gonna have a minion follow you around for the video proof?” Scott asked after a brief silence.
“There’s a freshman who’s looking to make a good impression. I already asked him if he’d be down for being my shadow for a while and he seemed all right with that.”
“Of course he does, he wants to stay in this shithole,” Scott said.
Derek was a little surprised by that comment and glanced up, eying Scott. He had been quiet and shy when he’d arrived at university, and while he and Derek had never been friends, even while he’d been pledging, he knew enough about him to recognize that he’d changed a lot over the years.
“Do you ever regret it?” he asked, not entirely meaning to. “Leaving the frat? Doing your own thing?”
“No,” Scott said without hesitation. “I have Allison, and Stiles. A compassionate set of housemates, great friends, and a great support system. If I had the chance to do it all over again, I’d do the exact same thing.” Scott eyed him briefly. “Somehow, I can’t say I think the same for you.”
Derek didn’t comment on that and just thanked him again before opening the door. Scott exited the house, but before Derek could close it again, the other turned.
“He’s worth it, you know,” Scott said. “Stiles, I mean. He’s worth it.”
“I know,” Derek admitted. “Why do you think I’ve been trying to fix this for three years?”
“You should’ve considered that before you broke it in the first place.”
Derek shut the door, not needing to hear that kind of lip from Scott. He just locked the door and turned around to head back to his room, shutting the door and falling back into his desk chair, unfolding the page in his hands and flattening it out on the desk.
He began to read the first few at the top, and while a part of him cringed at the thought of doing some of these, another part of him laughed because they were funny. They were embarrassing as fuck, but they were funny. None of them were malicious, none of them were cruel, none of them were dangerous. They were just embarrassing, and Derek felt like this was much better than any of the horrible things he’d had to do while pledging.
He also felt like he understood. Derek had embarrassed Stiles when he’d made that video and brought it back to the frat. It was only supposed to be the brothers who saw it, but the seniors back then were assholes and had spread the videos. Derek honestly didn’t think he’d have brought it back if he’d known it would spread. Stiles had been humiliated, made worse by the knowledge that Derek had only gone for him because of a pledge.
Which was worse for Derek, since it had started that way but not ended that way.
“Whatever,” he muttered to himself, reading down the list. “I can do this. This is nothing.”
Compared to what Stiles had endured, this was nothing.
“I really don’t know about this, Derek,” Isaac insisted, his voice a little high. “I don’t want to get in trouble.”
“Why would you get in trouble?” Derek asked with a sigh, rearranging himself a little bit and wincing since it was seriously a lost cause. “If anyone’s going to get in trouble, it’s me.”
Thankfully, while Derek was in a fraternity, he was also in Engineering and they were well known for their pranks on each other. This would be easy to pass off as an Engineering prank given he was going to one of his non-Engineering courses.
“Yeah but, I really think I should be stopping you. Are you sure you want to do this?”
“Isaac,” Derek stared him square in the eyes, “shut up and record.”
Isaac nodded emphatically and started recording on his phone. Derek let out a slow breath and then walked to the door, pulling it open and stepping out. Isaac followed along behind him while Derek walked down the street, ignoring the stares and keeping his chin up, refusing to look at anyone.
He got a few laughs, and some catcalls and wolf whistles, but he ignored them all and just walked, hand tightening around the books in his hand.
Every now and then, he reached down to keep the sock on his dick from slipping off, being mindful of where he stepped to ensure he didn’t hurt himself. He could hear Isaac muttering, “Oh God, oh God, oh God,” behind him over and over again. Derek just ignored him and kept walking.
He knew it was stupid to go for a big one from the get go, but he figured if he got all the embarrassing ones out of the way first, it would make the others seem like nothing. And so, that was how Derek Hale found himself walking down Greek Row wearing only flip flops and a sock. On his junk. That hid barely anything. Heading to English.
He made sure to keep facing forward on his way past Trash House, but he distinctly saw Scott spit out his coffee from his peripheral where he was sitting on the front steps, followed by a very loud, “Stiles! Stiles, get down here!”
Derek just kept walking, making his way towards the green so he could cross it to the languages building. He’d almost reached it when someone fell into step beside him and he glanced over to see Stiles beaming at him, wearing jeans and a hoodie, his backpack slung over one shoulder.
“Good morning, Derek.”
“Morning,” Derek replied, not looking at him. “Chilly today, isn’t it?”
“I don’t know, I think it’s pretty hot.” Stiles grinned and Derek let out a snort, glancing over at him before facing forward again.
“You know, I distinctly remember my list saying to attend one class wearing nothing but a sock, not to walk across campus like that. I’m not that mean.”
“Go big or go home,” Derek insisted, reaching the green and beginning to cross it to class.
“I guess. Well, I’m this way. Enjoy your day.” He turned to Isaac then. “Hey freshmeat, send me that video later, yeah?”
Isaac just stumbled over his response, Stiles laughing while breaking off from them, but Derek took some satisfaction in the flush he saw creeping up the back of Stiles’ neck. That made him happy, because it meant that Stiles honestly hadn’t thought he would do this, and while it wasn’t the worst thing on his list, it was definitely top three.
Derek made it to his class and before sitting down, he cleaned the seat with some Lysol and paper towels that Isaac had brought in his bag, and put down some plastic wrap and another layer of paper towels to sit on. When he sat down, he winced at how cold it was against his bare ass, and ignored all the shocked looks he got when people walked into the room. He’d made sure to get a seat near the back, hopefully mostly hidden from the professor, and Isaac took a seat beside him, slouching in his chair with the phone angled in his direction. He looked like he was trying to disappear, pretending he wasn’t with Derek.
When the professor walked in, he did a double-take when he saw Derek, looked like he wanted to say something, then shook his head and muttered what suspiciously sounded like “Millenials” under his breath. It being a lecture hall, the word carried.
Derek took notes and acted like nothing was different than normal. He was getting fairly cold, since it was that awkward time of year outside where it wasn’t hot or cold, but somewhere in between, so there was no air or heat on in the room, which meant for someone like Derek, who was fucking naked, he was freezing.
When the class ended, Derek stood and cursed when the sock almost slipped right off. A few girls a couple seats up giggled and whispered to each other, but he ignored them and secured the sock before moving out of the aisle, Isaac looking ready to die while following him out of the building.
“When do you have class?” Derek asked him while they headed back for the frat.
“In about an hour.”
“Okay, let’s hustle back. I know you’re willing to help me out, but make sure you’re not skipping any classes, okay?”
Isaac nodded and the two of them hurried back towards the fraternity. When he walked up the front path and opened the door, he was greeted to applause when he walked into the house, people cheering and taking pictures. He felt like this was somehow more embarrassing than walking across campus.
“You’ve got balls, Hale,” Boyd said, patting him on the back. “I mean, clearly, since they’re on display, but for real. He’s worth it?”
Derek thought back to the flush creeping up Stiles’ neck and smiled. “He’s worth it,” he confirmed.
A lot of the tasks were things that could be done in a few hours, but some of them were day-long tasks, so Derek tried to put them together where he could. One of the tasks was him going to a store and very loudly asking for help finding a box of their smallest condoms because all the regular size ones fell right off his dick. Boyd had come along with Isaac for that one, as well as a few other brothers from the frat, and they were falling over themselves laughing while the very uncomfortable clerk walked around the aisles with Derek trying to help him find the smallest condom size they had.
Derek didn’t find this nearly as embarrassing as he’d thought he would, mostly because he didn’t care what people he didn’t know thought of his dick. He just cared about what a partner thought of his dick, so the clerk’s reaction didn’t affect him at all.
Once that was done, he combined that with another one of his tasks, which was having to carry around an open bag all day that was full of condoms and lubricant. Derek didn’t think the condoms would stay in the bag for very long if he kept it wide open, so he instead bought a clear plastic bag and walked around campus with that instead. He got a few jabs at his manhood from some of the non-frat guys, but just flipped them off when they started getting inappropriate. It really didn’t bother him if they thought he had a small dick. The only person he wanted thinking about his dick was Stiles, and Stiles had seen his dick. He’d had it in both his mouth and his ass, so he was well acquainted with it.
The next task he tackled was more uncomfortable than embarrassing, but he attributed that to Erica’s poor taste in underwear that would fit male genitalia. He’d gone to Victoria’s Secret with her where she’d proceeded to have a field day trying to find him the most lacy, frilly, uncomfortable underwear she could manage. When he finally put the pair on the following morning, he was worried his junk was going to lose circulation and chose to wear the loosest basketball shorts he owned to try and alleviate some of the pressure.
Every time he saw one of his brothers on campus, they very cheerfully asked him how his day was going—because Boyd had photocopied the list, that asshole, and they all knew his tasks—so every single time, he had to respond that it was going great, and ask if they’d seen his new underwear while pulling his pants down enough to show them off.
Overall, he felt like his brothers were getting more enjoyment out of all of this than Stiles actually was. Derek sent him the videos of the tasks he’d completed every night, trying to go for at least one a day, and more if he could manage it. Fifty tasks meant fifty days, and he didn’t like that he was losing almost two months before he could get Stiles’ forgiveness, so he really pushed getting as many of them done at once as he could.
One of the worst ones he hadn’t expected to hate was something he’d figured would be a piece of cake. Then he’d started it and remembered his brothers were assholes. The problem was that Boyd had the list, but Isaac was recording everything, so one of the seniors would ask him which task Derek was doing that day and would then go out of their way to make his life miserable, because apparently that was what real friends did. Make people suffer.
“Hey Derek? Can you come here please?” Theo called from another room.
“Why?” Derek demanded, working on his Algebra.
“I need to talk to you. Come on, Derek!”
Knowing it was a trap, and knowing he was going to regret it, Derek threw his pen down on the desk and stood. The second he walked through the doorframe leading from his bedroom to the hallway, he fell to the ground and did ten push-ups, his arms aching from the continued action over the course of the day. He grunted when he hit ten, standing and shaking out his arms while Isaac followed behind him, recording with his phone. When Derek reached the living room, he fell to the ground and did another ten push-ups, wondering where Stiles had even thought of these horrible tasks.
Push-ups were bad enough, but this task mandated that every time he walked through an opening, be it a doorframe, an arch, or an open space like the living room entrance, Derek had to drop and do ten push-ups. It almost made him want to leave the house so he could get a break, but Isaac had homework and he’d been really good about everything the past few days, so Derek was trying to be considerate.
He was quickly losing his patience though.
“What?” he demanded of Theo when he reached him.
“Do you think you could get me a beer from the kitchen? It’s really hot in here and I feel like a refreshing beverage.”
Some of the brothers snorted laughs from their seats, but Derek just stared at Theo like he was going to rearrange his face, and then turned to head back to his room, doing ten push-ups every time he crossed an opening.
Boyd took pity on him when Derek’s arm began to shake every time he dropped to his knees and told the others to stop being assholes. He even brought Derek dinner so that the only doors he had to pass through until his time was up was his bedroom door and the bathroom door.
“Is he really worth all this?” Boyd asked, taking a seat on Derek’s bed while Derek shovelled food into his mouth, Isaac on the other side of the bed doing homework. “Don’t you think you’re going a little far?”
“Nope,” Derek informed him, taking another bite of food.
“Why?” Boyd asked, frowning slightly. “Why would you go to such lengths for him?”
Derek set his plate down and leaned forward in his chair, licking his lips and folding his hands together, elbows on his thighs.
“You remember our first year here, right? How I was when I got here?”
Boyd nodded slowly, frowning. “You were still in bad shape from what happened to your family,” he said cautiously. “You barely spoke to anyone.”
Derek nodded, twisting his hands together. “You know when I first smiled again since the fire?” When Boyd shook his head, Derek smiled and thought back on that day. “It was when I went ice skating with Stiles. He was—so awful. It was scary, really, I thought he was going to crack his head open or impale himself on his own skate. But he persevered throughout the day and when I asked him why he was forcing himself to do something he was obviously so bad at, he said that it was because my eyes lit up when I’d seen the rink the week before, and he wanted to do whatever he could to get that look on my face again.” Derek let out a small laugh and leaned back, raking a hand through his hair. “Stiles was the first truly good thing to happen to me since the fire, but I was so convinced, so obsessed with being in this frat, the one my dad had been in, that I sacrificed what I could’ve had to get in.”
Boyd said nothing to this, and Derek noticed even Isaac’s hand had stopped moving, the other clearly listening. Derek rubbed a hand across his mouth and picked his plate back up.
“Stiles deserved better than I gave him. None of the tasks he gave me were anywhere near as cruel as the ones we were forced to endure.”
“I agree with that,” Boyd said, crossing his arms and frowning. “Theo just followed tradition, but I don’t think our pledges need to be that bad. I know that Liam is thinking of changing them next year when he’s president, so maybe we should talk to him, encourage that. There’s a difference between embarrassment and cruelty. What we were forced to do was hurt people, and that wasn’t right.”
“No,” Derek agreed. “It wasn’t.”
“I’ll ask the guys to lay off as best I can, but Theo’s in charge, so he has the last call.” Boyd stood and headed for the door. “For what it’s worth, I hope you make it to the end.”
“Me too.” Derek offered him a small smile. “I’ve got twenty-one left.”
“That’s not bad. Any of them I can help with?”
Derek thought for a moment, then said, “Do you know where I can find a pink toddler’s bike for really cheap?”
As it turned out, Boyd did know where to find a pink toddler’s bike for extremely cheap, and Derek rode it around campus to every single class. He had to get various brothers to help out with that one, because Isaac had his own classes to get to, but none of them seemed to mind. The bike was killer on his crotch, but he managed to make it through the day from his first to his last class. He was actually worried for his dick, doing all of these tasks, because a lot of them seemed to want to destroy his ability to have children. Which he supposed was fine, given he was more interested in Stiles than having babies with some chick, but he still didn’t want to have to get his balls cut off because of permanent damage from ladies’ underwear or a pink toddler’s bike—complete with training wheels.
The most annoying task he had by far was the one Stiles had dubbed the Mario Kart task. He had to tie three helium balloons to his bag and last the entire day without any of them getting popped. This proved difficult when his brothers took it upon themselves to bet one another on who could pop the most balloons. It made it so that Derek had to restart the task daily, because he’d barely get halfway through the day without someone popping them.
He ended up completing the task by going to the library on a Saturday with Isaac and hiding in one of the study rooms until well into the afternoon. It worked out well for Isaac, who had a midterm the following Monday, and Derek was finally able to send the completed task video to Stiles, along with an unhappy face and a note stating it had taken him six days to complete it.
Stiles had just responded with a thumbs up and a “Good job!”
He actually ran into Stiles the following week while completing one of the other tasks, and Stiles very cheerfully asked him why he had a lightsaber with him. While it wasn’t part of the task, Derek struck a pose and lit up the lightsaber, staring Stiles right in the eye before saying,
“I am the last Jedi.”
Stiles beamed at him, clearly pleased, and bid him a good day before walking away. Derek smiled at having made him happy and endured the rest of the task in much the same manner. The only rule was to say he was the last Jedi whenever asked, but he went the whole ten yards and struck a pose each and every time, figuring Stiles would get a kick out of it when he watched the video.
On and on the tasks continued until he was only down to two. He almost wanted to do both of them at the same time, but stared at them and tried to figure out which one he thought he could handle right now.
It was late into the day, so he went with the easier of the two. He took pity on Isaac and asked Boyd to go with him instead, his friend agreeing as long as he got a free meal out of it. Derek agreed and they went to one of the more fancy restaurants in town where Derek proceeded to walk into the place shirtless, call for attention, and then dance the Macarena at the front of the restaurant to pitch silence from the patrons.
He didn’t get very far into the song before they were chased out and threatened to have the cops called on them, but the task hadn’t said he had to get through an entire song and dance, only that he had to do it and had to be shirtless.
A lot of the tasks involved Derek without a shirt, and he was starting to think Stiles liked his abdomen.
Derek brought Boyd to an Italian place after having put on a shirt, and invited Isaac to come by now that the embarrassing part was over.
“So what do you have left?” Isaac asked, taking a bite of his pasta while Derek pulled out the very worn list from his pocket.
He sighed while staring down at the last task. The very last one. He’d been dreading it since first reading it, but it was the last one and he would be damned if he didn’t succeed because his tongue couldn’t handle spicy foods.
“This one,” he said, defeated, and handed the list over. Boyd chuckled and patted his back while Isaac frowned.
“I don’t get it, what’s so bad about that?” Isaac asked, handing it back.
“Derek thinks mild salsa is too spicy, and I’m still convinced it has no heat in it. Asking him to do that is like asking him to willingly cover himself in honey and walk around a bunch of beehives.”
Derek sighed, staring down at the last task on the list, which said he had to empty an entire bottle of hot sauce. There was a bracket beside it, indicating it could be done in as much time as was needed, but that really didn’t help Derek. If he didn’t think he would throw up, he’d down the whole thing in one go, just to get it over with, but he knew that wouldn’t work.
“You should’ve been putting hot sauce on things the entire time you’ve been working on this list,” Isaac insisted. “It would’ve been done by now.”
“I know, I just kept avoiding it.” Derek sighed and shoved the list back in his pocket. “Whatever. I’ll pick away at it tomorrow. I’ll add it to my drinks and stuff and see how much of the bottle I can get done.”
Boyd patted his back in sympathy, but Derek still saw the smile teasing the edges of his lips out of the corner of his eye.
And, as predicted, the hot sauce was the worst thing to ever happen to Derek. He added it to everything in as large a quantity as he could, and would always immediately follow up with either milk, yogurt, or ice cream.
It took him twelve days to complete that task alone, and it was the last fucking one, so he wasn’t happy about how hard it was to get through. It made everything else he’d done look like a walk in the park, and he was starting to regret not having listened to Isaac about doing it as the tasks had been going along.
But, when the bottle had less than a tablespoon left of hot sauce, Derek had said, “Fuck it,” and uncapped it before drinking it down. He had, of course, eaten two bowls of ice cream immediately after, but he was finally finished. He was done with all fifty tasks.
He hadn’t really spoken to Stiles outside of the texting when he would send him the videos, but he also hadn’t taken him up on the offers to take him out on dates after every ten completed tasks. Derek had insisted he would do all fifty before he was allowed that, and now, as he very proudly sent along the last task, he waited while staring at his phone for Stiles to respond.
It came after about ten minutes, which was the length of the video he’d just sent.
looks like you win
when & where?
Grinning from ear to ear, Derek texted back that he wanted to take him out to dinner on Saturday and Stiles agreed to the time.
“Yes!” Derek thrust both hands in the air, spinning in his chair like an idiot, and knowing his sister would be horrified and wondering who he was, because this was the happiest Derek had been in years.
“He said yes?” Isaac asked from the doorway, Derek not even having realized he was there.
“He said yes!” Derek grinned, jumping to his feet and grabbing Isaac’s shoulders. “I owe you, Isaac. You were great for this whole thing, and I couldn’t have done it without you.” He pulled him into a crushing hug, Isaac sputtering a response, but he didn’t hear him and just grinned like an idiot, falling back into his chair.
“Fuck. I’m gonna do it right this time.” He turned to Isaac, pointing his finger at him. “I’m gonna do it right. I am going to make sure he realizes how important he is, and I’m going to treat him like he deserves to be treated.”
Isaac just smiled, wished him luck, and left the room.
Derek grinned while opening his text messages so he could text his sister, feeling like he might actually have a chance at happiness this time.
When Saturday rolled around, Derek was kind of a nervous wreck. He knew that, if nothing else, Stiles was going to go on this date with him, but he was worried about fucking it up again. He’d done everything Stiles had asked, and proven that he cared enough to humiliate himself over and over in public, so there couldn’t be any doubt he was sorry for what had transpired between them.
But still, he knew a small part of Stiles’ brain was always going to whisper, “what if?” and he hated that knowledge. He was determined to take things as slow as possible, at whatever pace Stiles wanted, but he knew how hard that would be because he could still clearly remember the way Stiles moved beneath him, the feel of his hands on his skin, the sounds that escaped his mouth.
And now he was getting turned on right before his date so he needed to reign it in.
Letting out a slow breath, he descended the stairs to head out and found all the seniors at the door waiting for him. He paused, watching them all uncertainly, but Boyd smiled and that relaxed him a little bit. Boyd was the most decent person he knew in the frat, so he tried not to worry about what was coming.
“Going for your date?” Theo asked.
“Yup,” Derek responded.
“Hey look man, we just wanted to say we’re sorry about fucking around with you during the list. It was shits and giggles for us, but you made it pretty clear you care about the guy, so I hope it goes well tonight.” He stuck out his fist and Derek bumped it lightly.
“Don’t try to have sex with him on this date,” Boyd warned him. “He’ll probably stab you with a steak knife.”
“I’d say don’t even kiss him,” another brother piped in. “I mean, I would just wait for him to make all of the first moves.”
“Maybe also give him your phone, so he knows for sure nothing is being recorded.”
“And pay for his dinner. You invited him, you better damn well pay.”
“Okay!” Derek said, moving through them all to the door, and wondering if it being their last year together was making them all sappy. “I’m gonna go now. Thank you. I’ll let you know how it goes.”
“Hey Derek?” Boyd asked, making him turn while halfway down the steps. Boyd offered him one of his rare, genuine smiles. “Have fun.”
Derek smiled back. “Thanks.”
He went to the frat lot and got into his Camaro, driving down the street towards Trash House and parking outside. He waited in the car, not wanting to rush Stiles, and the front door was open so people knew he was there.
Stiles came out ten minutes later in tight black jeans and a T-shirt. He and Scott spoke for a bit on the porch, then Scott slapped him in the back and went into the house. Stiles made his way down the path to the road and climbed into the passenger seat, offering Derek an awkward smile.
“Hey. I missed this car. Can’t believe you still have it.”
“I take good care of her,” Derek insisted, patting the dash before starting the car and pulling away from the curb. “I wasn’t sure what you’d like, but you used to always get burgers and fries so I figured we could go to the diner in town. Have you been?”
Stiles shook his head, so Derek nodded once, pleased with his choice. They drove there in awkward silence, neither of them really knowing what to say. Derek had kind of been banking on Stiles speaking most of the date, because when they’d been together before, he used to talk Derek’s ear off. Now, it looked like he was too scared to say anything, so Derek was stuck trying to think of things to say.
They made it to the diner and were seated before Derek couldn’t stand it anymore and just said something.
“So how’s your dad?”
“He’s good,” Stiles said absently, eying the menu. He perked up at something he saw and Derek instantly felt better about this date. “He’s still fighting the good fight and waiting for me to graduate so I can come home.”
“Beacon Hills, right? That’s where you’re from?”
“Yeah,” Stiles said, looking a little startled. “You remember that?”
“I remember a lot of things,” Derek said, trying for a smile and not sure he succeeded.
The waitress came by a few moments later to take their orders, and when she left, they sat in silence again. Derek rubbed the back of his neck and Stiles drummed his fingers on the table.
Before Derek could figure something out, Stiles sighed and moved the napkin dispenser aside.
“Look,” he said, and that one word had Derek’s heart sink into his stomach, “I don’t want this to be awkward, or else you did all that stuff for nothing, and that’s not fair. So can we just—wipe the slate clean and try this again?”
Derek straightened, nodding. “I’d like that a lot.”
“Okay.” Stiles nodded back, but then pointed his finger at Derek. “You owe Isaac big time, though.”
“I know I do,” Derek said with a frown. “But why, exactly, do you say that?”
Stiles let out a slow breath, crossing his arms on the table in front of him, and leaned forward. “You can’t get pissed off at him for this, okay? He was doing it to help you, even if you don’t know it, and the only reason I believe what he sent me is because, little known fact, I used to babysit Isaac when we were younger and he wouldn’t lie to me.”
Derek stared at Stiles like he’d suddenly started speaking Chinese. Isaac and Stiles knew each other?! Why hadn’t Isaac said anything?! Was that why he’d been on board with helping Derek out? Had he been spying on him for Stiles?
Stiles seemed to know where his thoughts were going, because he rolled his eyes and said, “Isaac had no idea the tasks you were doing were for me until that first day when you walked out of the house naked.” A smirk started pulling up the corners of Stiles’ lips. “He texted me after you both parted ways and said he wasn’t comfortable helping someone who’d hurt me get back in my good graces and asked if I wanted him to stop. I said I didn’t mind, and that you were trying to redeem yourself, so he agreed to stick it out.”
Stiles leaned back in his booth when the waitress came back with their drinks—a coke for Derek and a chocolate milkshake for Stiles. When she left again, Derek motioned for him to continue.
“So what, exactly, did Isaac do that makes me owe him?”
Stiles said nothing for a moment, slurping at his milkshake, and then finally released the straw and sighed, pulling out his phone. “He made me believe you.”
“The tasks didn’t do that?” Derek asked, eyebrows shooting up. “I wore women’s underwear for you and rode a tricycle. Those things were killer on my crotch.”
“Yeah, but anyone can do embarrassing things,” Stiles said, looking through his phone. “I could’ve done that entire list if I really wanted to, it doesn’t really prove much. What really did it for me was this.”
He handed his phone over and Derek frowned, staring down at the screen. It was a video, but all he saw was black. When he hit the play button, the image stayed black, as if the phone had been hidden, but he heard his and Boyd’s voices fairly clearly.
“—you think you’re going a little far?”
Derek’s head shot up, but Stiles was looking out the far window on their right, chewing on his straw, one hand against his cheek.
“Nope,” Derek’s voice said from the phone.
“Why? Why would you go to such lengths for him?”
“You remember our first year here, right? How I was when I got here?”
Derek sat and listened to the whole conversation. He listened to the way he described the outing, the fondness in his voice, the clear smile on his face. He listened to himself explain why Stiles meant something to him, why he was willing to put himself through this for him.
The video cut off mid-sentence when Boyd mentioned Liam taking over as president, but Derek still stared down at the phone in slight shock, not having realized just how far gone he’d sounded. He knew, of course, that he was desperately in love with Stiles, but he didn’t realize how obvious it was until hearing the video.
“He recorded you the other night, too,” Stiles said, still looking out the window. “When you texted me to ask for the date and I agreed. I didn’t think you’d actually be that happy, but hearing your reaction kind of made what happened in first year worth it.”
“Stiles,” Derek said, handing the phone back to him. “I really am sorry about first year. I was stupid, and you didn’t deserve that.”
“No, I didn’t.” Stiles looked back at him. “But I forgive you. Mostly. Forgiveness has to be earned, and while those two videos help, it doesn’t count if you don’t know it’s happening.” Stiles stuck the phone back into his pocket. “But I’m willing to give you until graduation to convince me.”
“You won’t regret it,” Derek promised, smiling brightly. “I swear, I’m going to make this up to you and by the time we graduate, you’re gonna be begging me to move to Beacon Hills with you.”
“Oh really?” Stiles asked, eyebrows shooting up.
“Don’t worry, I’ll say yes,” Derek teased.
Stiles laughed, and the sound was so amazing that Derek couldn’t help but smile. He leaned back when the waitress came with their food, and while it was still a little hard at the beginning, eventually they found their ground and started having a normal conversation, both of their walls down and complete honesty between them.
Derek knew he’d fucked up, and he knew it would take a long time before he and Stiles ended up where he wished they were, but for now, he had him, and that was enough.
Stiles had always been enough.