“Are you sure this isn’t some forty year old man hiding behind this,” his dad asks, arms crossed over his chest.
He and Scott have been interrogating Stiles for the last twenty-two minutes because he’s having his first official Skype date with Derek in the six years they’ve been talking online. Stiles understands why they’re both worried — it’s taken them six years for Derek to finally get a laptop with a webcam so they can finally see each other outside of pictures — because not only for obvious reasons like he’s Scott’s best friend and his dad’s son but more because they know Stiles has been in love with a man behind these pictures and phone conversations for awhile now.
Obviously Stiles wants to promise his dad that Derek is real but he can’t, as much as he wants to. He’s always had one part of his mind that has to remain skeptical but it’s been so hard to be rational when all he wants to do is fly across the country to be with Derek.
Derek is the guy who Stiles met on some random band page on MySpace because Derek made a ridiculously hilarious comment and with a spurt of confidence, Stiles had messaged him to tell him just how hilarious it was and they got to talking. Derek is the guy that made a FaceBook account just to talk to Stiles on the messenger so they could talk more when MySpace was slowly dying out. Derek is the guy that changed his text message plan to unlimited when he finally sent Stiles his cell phone number. Derek is the guy that has been on the phone with Stiles at any and all hours through the day.
And Derek is the guy that Stiles is in love with.
“I still don’t understand why it took him six years to get a webcam.” Scott says, mimicking the Sheriff and crossing his arms over his chest. Stiles thinks they want to look mean and stern, but they look like worried little puppy dogs.
“Because he’s not really a tech savvy kind of guy.” Stiles says, trying to comfort the two men, but he knows they won’t be able to settle down until they’ve seen Derek themselves. “And honestly webcams didn’t really became a built-in feature on technology until recently.”
“Well if he loves you as much as he says he does, he’d find a way to video you sooner.”
Stiles rolls his eyes, turning back to his desk so he can log onto Skype on his laptop. Derek told him to be ready at 2 pm to chat and it’s currently 1:53. Stiles feels like he’s going to throw up from the nerves. He feels jittery and can’t stop fidgeting with the hem of his t-shirt — wondering for the billionth time if he should change.
“Can you two just sit on the bed or something? I’m already really nervous and you guys aren’t helping by glowering in the doorway.”
“Why are you nervous? You love him, he loves you.”
“What if I’m not what he expected?” Stiles asks, biting his bottom lip. “What if he wanted something different than he’s seen in pictures? What if he realizes how annoying I am? How lanky I am? How weird and geeky and oh god he’s going to hate me. He’s going to log on, make some disgusted face when he sees me then log off and never talk to me again. He’s going to — ”
Stiles is well on the way to a panic attack, just thinking of all the ways this video chat could go wrong. He’s stuck in some scenario where Derek is just a balding forty year old man in his mom’s basement while she’s yelling at him in the background when he feels his dad’s hand heavy on his shoulder, breaking him from his trail of thoughts.
“Son, none of that is going to happen. He’s going to log onto that computer of his and fall even more in love with you, okay?”
Stiles takes a few settling breaths before glancing at the clock to see that it’s 1:57. His heart is going to beat out of his chest. He grabs his phone with sweaty palms and opens up a new text to Derek. Half of him really wants to cancel their Skype date; he wants to chicken out and resume their usual relationship through FaceBook and texting and phone calls. But he can’t because that’s not enough for either of them anymore.
“Thanks for being here with me, guys.” Stiles turns to his dad and Scott, feeling his phone vibrate in the palm of his hand. It’s a text from Derek that reads me too. A few moments — which feels like a lifetime but also somehow like it’s happening way too soon — it is finally showing that Derek is online and he’s getting a request to video chat.
Stiles takes a few breaths to compose himself and he feels Scott squeeze his hand on his shoulder before he accepts the call. There’s a second where the screen is loading and then Derek’s grinning face is taking up Stiles’ laptop screen.
It’s the same soft sweater he always has on in pictures. It’s the same green eyes. It’s the same dark hair and stubble. It’s the same smile. Stiles can’t breathe. Stiles feels his heart swell because Derek is real.
“Hi,” Derek whispers, smile growing exceptionally larger.
“You’re real.” Stiles whispers back, feeling tears spring in his eyes. Scott squeezes his shoulder tighter for a second and Stiles can hear him and Derek talking to each other, but he’s too in shock to actually make sense of anything that they’re saying.
“You back with us, Stiles?” Derek asks and holy shit does Stiles like his name coming out of Derek’s mouth. It’s the first time he’s been able to see him actually say it, instead of just hearing his voice over the phone.
“Y-yeah. I, um, I-I’m sorry. It’s just. You’re real.”
“Of course I am. Sorry it took so long for this to happen.”
“God, you’re perfect.” Stiles isn’t even following Derek’s side of the conversation; he’s too transfixed on the blush that spreads under his perfect, perfect stubble. He can’t believe this is actually Derek.
“So are you.” Derek murmurs, almost too low for the Stilinskis and Scott to hear, but Stiles catches it and feels his grin stretch his mouth and cheeks too wide.
He and Derek stare at each other for a few moments in silence, grins spread wide across their faces, as they drink in the sight of each other. Stiles’ eyes can’t fit across the image of Derek quick enough to keep telling himself that Derek is real and actually in front of him.
The Sheriff clears his throat behind them, breaking the two of them from their trance. Stiles yelps, foot catching one of the bars on his desk as he jumps because he had completely forgotten Scott and his dad were still even in his room. The two of them excuse themselves so Stiles and Derek can talk without them hovering behind Stiles.
“So how’s your day today going?” Derek asks as soon as Stiles’ bedroom door is clicked shut behind the Sheriff and Scott.
“Pretty sure this is the best day of my life.” Stiles doesn’t think he’s stopped grinning. “How’s your day going?”
“Same.” Derek’s smile is utterly breath-taking. Stiles wishes he could see it in person. “Did you really not think I was real?”
“I-it’s just that sometimes you seemed too good to be true? Like it kinda felt like you were someone I made up in my head because of how perfect you are.” Stiles bites his lip. “And I didn’t want to be completely heart-broken and stuff if you weren’t real.”
“I’m real.” Derek says, his hand reaching out and touching the screen. Stiles wishes it could break through the screens and he could feel it in person. “And so are you.”
It took Stiles twenty more minutes into the Skype call for him to finally accept that Derek was really talking to him. He kept speaking but breaking off into goofy grins or whispering something like “I can’t believe you’re real” when talking face-to-face (or more like screen-to-screen) with Derek got to be too much to process.
And it doesn’t take Stiles long to figure out how much more satisfying talking to Derek is when he can actually see his reactions and listen to his voice while watching his mouth move.
“God I wish I could kiss you right now.” Stiles tells Derek dreamily, tilting his head to rest it on the palm of his hand. Derek flushes red and ducks his head out of the screen. Stiles makes a noise of protest and says, “No! No, do not hide your pretty face from me. Come back.”
Derek lifts his head back up but covers his face with his hands — his very large, very sexy hands — until he stops blushing.
Stiles makes a game of it and sees which flirty comments make Derek blush and duck his head. Because he can. Because he can finally see Derek reacting to what he’s saying instead of just hearing it.
They talk for hours. They talk about everything and anything. They talk about nothing. Stiles is currently telling Derek about how much he wishes he was in New York right now just so he could hold his hand. Derek’s opening his mouth to agree when a woman is calling his name from the background.
“That’s Laura. I promised I’d help her put together her new bookshelf.”
Stiles tries and fails to not find that adorable. He also tries and fails to think about how sexy Derek would look fixing something at Stiles’ house for him with just a tool belt on and all his bulging muscles out on display for him. Mmmm.
“Okay, Skype again tomorrow?”
“Yeah I’ll text you when I get back from classes to see if you’re free.” Derek grins at him, but his expression quickly dissolves to looking annoyed when Laura is calling his name again.
“Bye, Der.” Stiles smiles, letting his eyes wander over the image of Derek in the screen one last time before muttering, “Love you.”
Stiles completely freezes in his chair, hoping that Derek didn’t hear that. Derek just smiles at him once more and says, “Love you too” before ending the call.
Stiles pinches his arm to make sure this is all real. When he recovers enough to realize it isn’t a dream, he flails himself around his room. He loses control of his limbs and rolling chair — letting out a squeak of happiness — before he bolts out of his room and into the kitchen where Scott and his dad are staring at each other over a couple beers.
“He’s amazing and real I can’t believe it.” Stiles grins, completely ignoring the fact that his dad offered Scott a beer while they waited for him. He’ll acknowledge that later because he can’t help but keep tumbling words out of his mouth about Derek.
Scott and his dad are silently watching, both grinning, while they let Stiles talk and flail his arms around to better encompass the perfectness that is Derek Hale.
“I told him I love him.” Stiles tells them after his elaborate explanation that he’s going to walk across the entirety of the country until he can be in the same vicinity as Derek. “He said that he loves me too.”
Stiles can barely contain his grin, radiating complete happiness and shock (still unable to believe the past few hours actually happened) and bouncing in place on his toes. Scott is quick to jump up and pull him into a hug, while his dad smiles at them both.
The happiness doesn’t last long. Well it does. But it gets subdued when Stiles realizes he still can’t touch Derek. He wants to rub against his stubble and pull on his ears when they turn red when he’s embarrassed and he wants to kiss the shit out of Derek every time he sees his stupid face.
But he can’t.
Because Derek is 2,897 miles away from him.
Stiles would know. He’s Google mapped it. Many times. (The distance doesn’t change, no matter how many times he does google it and tries to stare the numbers into submission).
They still talk everyday, like they used to. They text, they call, but now they can actually Skype. Derek usually tries to Skype right before he goes to bed. Stiles thinks it’s because Derek is a huge sap and likes telling Stiles he loves him while being able to see him rather than just hearing his voice.
“I fucking hate time zones.” Derek tells Stiles. He’s curled up on his bed around his laptop. Stiles can’t really make out anything but the light glow the laptop is emitting on Derek’s facial features. It’s currently two-thirty in the morning in New York. Stiles can’t agree more.
Derek stays up way passed reasonable hours in New York to talk to Stiles more often than not, because he loves him. (It’s mind-boggling. Stiles has never had someone there for him like this — that they want to deal with his constant babbles and trying to follow random trains of thoughts and struggling to understand too many incomplete thoughts. But Derek always tells him that he wishes he could just spend a few minutes in his brain to try and figure Stiles the hell out.)
Stiles loves how soft and cuddly Derek looks through his screen. He would give anything to be able to just curl around him for five minutes. He just wants to feel how soft the fabric of his sweater is. He wants to feel Derek’s stubble nuzzling into his neck and his breath tickling his ear. Stiles wants so much that he can’t completely have yet.
“I fucking hate this country.” Stiles replies. “It’s too fucking big.”
“When do you think we’ll actually be able to meet in person?” Derek whispers, pulling his laptop closer to him.
“I don’t know. Hopefully soon.” Stiles sighs, “Sometimes I feel like I’m gonna explode not being able to be close enough to you.”
my stats professor is way too peppy at ten in the morning.
sry for keeping u up late last nite ;)
don’t apologize when we both know you aren’t really sorry.
seriously. stiles. SAVE ME.
ok, bby. be there in two maybe three days.
UGH don’t even joke about that. i wish.
as much as i love when u talk to me, u better pay attn. text me after class.
“Son. can I talk to you?”
“Sure thing, daddio. What’s up?” Stiles asks, finishing a text to Derek containing too many emoticons and finally looking up. His dad is sitting at the table with a card in his hand, face serious. Scott and Mrs. McCall are sitting with him.
“Your birthday is next month.” He states, like Stiles isn’t aware of his own date of birth. Stiles just nods, waiting for his dad to expand. “And I know your spring break falls on your birthday, so we all wanted to give you your present early.”
“Okay?” Stiles is completely confused. The only reason why he can comprehend the McCalls being here is that maybe his dad and Melissa finally agreed to letting him and Scott take a road trip in the Jeep. (His dad has been too wary because he’s telling Stiles that if they break down in the middle of nowhere he’s SOL and he won’t be able to come bail him out).
“It’s actually a gift from the three of us.” Ms. McCall adds on, smiling at Stiles. Scott looks like he’s about to burst and tell Stiles what’s happening.
“It’s not like, bad, right?” Stiles asks nervously when his dad hands over the envelope. “Like these aren’t forms telling me that you’re disowning me, right?”
“Just open the damn gift.” His dad says gruffly. Scott looks seconds away from shitting himself.
Stiles runs his finger under the seal of the envelope to rip it. He takes out a folded piece of paper and glances up confused at the three of them. His dad makes a ‘go on’ gesture. Melissa is grinning at him and Scott is vibrating in his chair. Stiles unfolds the paper, reads what’s written and immediately drops it and looks up at his dad. He knows his jaw is wide open and his eyes are bugging out.
He can’t comprehend what’s happening.
“Happy birthday, son.”
Scott is up in a shot, grabbing the paper off the ground so he doesn’t step on it, and grabs Stiles into a hug. He’s squeezing Stiles so hard but he still can’t believe the three of them did this for him.
“You get to finally meet Derek!” Scott cries, bouncing the two of them around the kitchen. Stiles gets ahold of the paper again and reads it over Scott’s shoulder, eyes blurry with tears. He pinches himself, but the words on the paper remain the same.
Stiles is staring at the confirmation page of his roundabout trip to New York.
Stiles’ immediate reaction is to want to call Derek so he can incoherently scream that they’re finally going to meet. But Stiles refrains, and sends a text saying call me asap to Laura instead.
He gets a call a few minutes later, and excuses himself from the room.
“Hey, Laura.” Stiles greets her.
“Hey,” Stiles can tell she’s smiling but sounds a little worried. “Everything okay?”
“Oh, yeah. Everything’s great.”
“Are you near Derek?” Stiles asks, biting his lip.
“No he’s in class right now. Are you guys okay?”
“Oh, yeah! We’re perfect. Look, can you keep a secret?”
“I can. I guess it depends what the secret is. You didn’t hurt my baby brother, did you?”
“No! No, of course not! Sorry, I’m probably sounding really sketchy right now, aren’t I?”
“You are. What’s on your mind?”
“Honestly its a jumbled mess. My dad and McCalls just gave me an early birthday present of roundtrip plane tickets to New York for my spring break next month and I’m honestly not sure if this is actually happening right now or not.”
“What!?” Laura screeches over the phone. “You found out you’re coming here and you call me first instead of Derek?!”
“Yeah. About that and you keeping secrets. I kind of wanted to surprise him?”
“Oh man Der’s gonna piss himself. Yes. I am in, I am so in. Just tell me when you’re flight gets in and Cora and I will pick you up and make sure Derek isn’t home.”
So that’s how he finds himself getting assaulted by two of the wrong Hales in the JFK airport a month later. They planned everything — Derek is currently thinking that he and Scott are on a camping trip outside of cell phone reach — and to make it even easier, Derek would be in class when they’d come back to the apartment with Stiles.
“You are just as cute in person!” Laura squeals, “Derek is going to shit himself.”
“Or pop a boner on spot.” Cora supplies. Both girls squeal in delight when Stiles’ face flushes bright red.
“Come on, lets get you home!”
Stiles hauls his duffle over his shoulder — he was able to fit everything into a duffle and carry it on with him. He figured if everything went well he wouldn’t even be needed many clothes anyways. He’s not even sure if he means in a sexy sense or in the sense that he’s going to steal all of Derek’s sweaters — and follows the girls out to the black Camaro.
The ride back to their place isn’t too bad; they don’t have much traffic to sit through at all and the drive passes quickly because the girls are too busy talking to Stiles for him to really notice that they’ve already passed the bridge and are well on their way to the apartment.
Once they get to the building, Stiles feels his stomach knot with anxiety. He knows he’s being unreasonable — that Laura and Cora already are talking about how much they love him and he shouldn’t be anxious about Derek feeling any different — but it’s just hard not to feel nervous when this will be the very first time they will be face-to-face.
Stiles is still waiting to wake up from this dream.
Laura takes Stiles’ duffle and puts it in what he assumes is Derek’s room. Cora pushes Stiles down and puts the TV remote in his hand. He can faintly hear the girls giggling over how they think Derek will react over the episode of Catfish playing on MTV.
Once they hear the key in the lock, Laura and Cora vault themselves over the couch to act as naturally as they can for when Derek steps in. Derek who is standing on the other side of the door. When the door finally swings open, Stiles completely forgets how to breathe for a moment. Derek’s even more perfect in person.
“Hey Laura, Cora, Stiles.” Derek calls as he glances over at the couch, nonchalant as ever, he’s kicking his shoes off when his entire body freezes. The girls can’t stop giggling and Stiles is trying to remember how to breathe.
“Stiles?” Derek’s voice is higher than he’s ever heard it before. Derek stands in the doorway for another second, looking at Stiles like he can’t possibly be real, before he’s launching himself at Stiles on the couch.
Stiles is laughing when Derek tackles him, pulling him off the couch and onto the ground. They collapse in a heap of limbs and Stiles rolls them so he’s straddling Derek’s hips. Stiles is running his hands over every part of Derek that he can touch — his chest, his arms, his neck, his face, oh god his stubble — while Derek is doing the same.
“God I still can’t believe you’re real.” Stiles breathes out, pressing kisses everywhere on Derek’s face.
“I can’t believe you’re here! What the fuck, I have to be dreaming.” Derek says, not even letting Stiles explain how he’s there because he’s grabbing Stiles’ face and pulling him in for a real kiss. He can vaguely hear the girls cheering in the background. Absolutely everything but Derek completely fades out when Derek's tongue is tracing Stiles' bottom lip to deepen the kiss.
“I love you,” Stiles breathes against Derek’s lips. “I love you, I love you, I love you.”
“I can’t believe you’re actually here.” Derek breathes back, pulling him back in to kiss him again and again and again like he cannot get enough of the feel of Stiles' lips on his own. “I love you too.”
Moments later, Stiles collapses on the ground next to Derek, panting for air and turning his face to the side to grin at Derek. He slides his hand over to grab Derek’s and laces them together. Stiles feels like if he isn't touching a part of Derek that he'll completely vanish or wake up in his bed back at home in Beacon Hills. Derek grins back and squeezes his hand.
“How?” is all he asks. Stiles leans over and kisses Derek again because he actually can. His lips are even softer than he thought and Derek is a better kisser than Stiles even thought was imaginable. He doesn't think he ever wants to stop kissing him. Stiles thinks it'd be such a good way to die, to lose his ability to breathe because he can't stop kissing Derek.
“Dad and the McCalls gave me plane tickets for my birthday.” Stiles grins, “I called Laura so I could surprise you. Did we surprise you?”
“You sure as hell surprised the shit out of me.”
Stiles and Derek exchange a few more kisses before Derek’s leaning his forehead against Stiles’ and murmuring “I can’t believe you’re real.”. The girls catch him saying it and let out squeals, snapping Stiles back to reality. Stiles completely forgot they were there, and judging by the way Derek is mouthing an 'oops' at him, he completely forgot too. He's just glad he didn't try touching Derek's dick while his sisters were in the room.
The girls are talking in the background, about his birthday dinner and everything they have planned for the rest of the week that Stiles is here. Derek is humming noncommittally to his sisters, one hand still grasping Stiles' as the other traces his face. Stiles would honestly be content just being able to lie with Derek on the floor of his living room while his sisters squeal at them for the next seven days if it meant that Stiles didn't have to stop touching or kissing the other man.
“I’ve waited six and a half years to be able to tell if your sweaters were as soft as I thought they were.” Stiles tells Derek later, when they’re finally curled up in his bed together. The room is dark except for the matching notifications blinking on their cell phones. “I just thought I’d let you know that I’m not disappointed.”
“I’m glad. Not disappointed in anything else either, right?” Derek asks, a hint of insecurity in his voice. Stiles brushes a kiss against Derek’s lips.
“No, never.” Stiles grins up at him. “Best day of my life.”
Stiles finally checks the notifications on his phone in the morning (directly after basking in the awesomeness that is waking up next to Derek) to see that it’s Facebook telling him that Laura Hale posted a photo of him. He clicks the app to see a picture she must’ve taken yesterday. It’s Derek mid-leap, he’s a little blurry, but the smile on his face is the same size as the one on Stiles’ face. Honestly, it’s a priceless photo. She captioned it with almost seven years in the making. so glad these two doofuses are finally together.
Stiles owes it all to one stupid MySpace message six and a half years ago.