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I've Underestimated My Charm (Again)

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"So how's your downward spiral into a life of crime?" greets Stiles when Lydia emerges from her own car this time. A fine specimen of German engineering. Lydia's a big fan of safety.

"Much less organized than I hoped," replies Lydia, grabbing her shoulder bag. "But at least it's been keeping me from realizing the lack of good television."

Stiles snorts. "Did Jackson hide The Notebook again? You know he usually tosses it into Silver Lake. Old man Bower catches more DVDs than fish some days."

"He does what?" Lydia looks furious.

"I may have said too much," Stiles says and briefly sends a silent prayer to Jackson's manhood. Though he should be fine, considering how long he's been dating Lydia.

"Urgh, never mind. That will have to wait," huffs Lydia, letting out a calming breath. "I need to go over the school trip with you."

Stiles frowns. "I thought that was going to be put on hold, what with the whole shunning thing." He gestures to his body with both hands.

Lydia waves her left hand airily. "As if I would waste all that work," she says. "And a lot of parents are looking forward to getting a weekend of free babysitting."

"Ah, like always, sexy times trumps all," smirks Stiles knowingly.

"Ew, don't be a pig," says Lydia. "It will also be a great way to see if Jackson can handle kids."

Stiles eyeballs Lydia, she looks twitchy. "Did something happen?"

"No," she glares. "I just, we have been dating since high school - and he's been acting weird lately -"

"Lydia, I thought you stopped playing mind games with Jackson after he turned down a full ride at Tulane to go to Berkley with you."

Lydia frets with the strap of her bag with a huff. "He's just been so squirrelly. At first I thought he was cheating but now -"

It's off-putting to see Lydia act vulnerable. Stiles sighs. Jackson is a dick but somehow is best friends with the nicest person in town so he guesses he should at least help him. Though if he doesn't propose soon, Stiles may have to get his shotgun.

"Jackson's not breaking up with you," declares Stiles. "This isn't sophomore year, though - you are too smart for him."

Lydia glares at him before punching him in the shoulder. "Watch it, that's the man I love."

"No account for taste," grins Stiles.

"Let's see who manages to put up with you," snarks Lydia. Stiles let's it slide because Lydia's eyes have regained their mischievous light. "He'd have to sustain extensive brain damage-"

"Hey now!" Some things require retaliation and with that he's thrown her over his shoulder, ignoring her shrieking laughter. "Let's not drag your dating technique into it."

"Put me down, Stilinski!" gasps Lydia from her upside down position. "I'm a lady, dammit!"

"Take it back," Stiles says as he begins his trek towards Silver Lake.

"Never!" hollers Lydia but Stiles merely let's his grip slip and Lydia shrieks as she tumbles towards the ground but Stiles tightens his hold.

"You should really lay off those Girl Guide cookies," says Stiles conversationally as he makes his way down the dock. "Almost lost you there."

"Don't you dare!" yells Lydia.

"Now, now, you were saying something about my manly charm and future boyfriend?" he asks as he leans back on his heels causing the ends of Lydia's red hair to brush against the still water of the lake.

"I take it back, blackmail would need to be involved," glares Lydia.

"Huh," Stiles says, letting his grip waver.

"Stop! The water is cold!" flails Lydia. "Fine, you're charming. And cute in an indie romance way. And I will break the legs of whoever breaks your heart."

"Really?"

"I'll get Jackson to," she amends, twisting her head to catch his eye.

"Apology accepted." He swings her back up and grounds her on the dock. "Now, you were saying about the school trip?"

"It'll have to wait," says Lydia with saccharine sweetness.

"Why?" he squints at her. "You drove up-"

"For after your swim," she smiles and shoves him backwards into the lake. His yell causes the migration of half the lake's wildlife.

He surfaces sputtering out a curse. "Touché."

---

Lydia is nice enough to have hot chocolate waiting for him when he exits the shower in his worn Henley and jeans.

"You weren't kidding about the coffee machine. What happened?" she says as she watches him add an ungodly amount of marshmallows and whip cream to his cup. The machine in question is in shambles on the counter.

"It burnt me," he replies, blowing over his cup before he took a gulp. "It had to die."

"You're not allowed near my kitchen again," she says taking a dainty sip from her cup of tea.

"And you're not allowed to push me into the lake again," glares Stiles over his cup of hot chocolate.

"Well for this year anyway," replies Lydia.

"Agreed," Stiles nods. "But we're still on for throwing Scott in for his birthday."

"Of course, it's tradition after all."

"I think he's catching on," says Stiles.

Lydia just grins.

"Speaking of, how did the baseball go?"

Lydia grimaces. "It ended when Jackson hit a home run."

"That's not how baseball works," drawls Stiles.

"It is when you only have one ball and a limited knowledge of the sport," says Lydia with a huff. "And it worked out, Dr. Hale showed up just as Jackson hit it and Coach Finstock felt that was a good way to prevent anymore injuries. Scott already knocked himself out catching a fly ball."

Stiles cackles. He sputters into his cup, at least half goes up his nose. When he finally catches his breath, most of his hot chocolate in on the table. "Please tell me you have pictures."

He already facebooked Allison and Scott's collision.

"Better," Lydia grins. "Video."

Stiles figures he'll hold off throwing her into the lake. For now.

---

 

It's one of those mornings where Stiles really wishes he was in his own bed with Padfoot snuffling at the foot of the bed. The rangers' station isn't really heated mainly because of shitty insulation. So he starts the day off freezing and his body is in desperate need of coffee. He settles for a mug of tea from the growing collection that Lydia started for him when he was upgraded from love lorn stalker to gay best friend in the effort for him to stop mainlining coffee. It didn't work, considering the amount of tea in the rangers' station.

He's halfway out the door when he realizes there's someone waiting at the information center. Well, the bulletin board outside it. The information center is only open on weekends, during community events and all summer when the city hall gets more interns than they can deal with. Otherwise it's locked up.

So it's unusual to find someone out here for the hell of it. Stiles is ready to call a warm hello until he recognizes the man scrutinizing the events' board.

Derek Hale.

Stiles idly wonders if he can get back into the station without being spotted.

"Hey," waves the good doctor. Stiles groans internally. And possible externally. He wasn't really paying attention because Derek's holding coffee in both of his hands. Rosita's coffee.

"Is that what I think it is?" he asks, his brain going on autopilot. He somehow made his way down the station's stairs towards Derek, overlooking the fact that Derek is even there looking fresh from a run with his ear buds hanging around his neck, though he's wearing track pants instead of distracting shorts.

Derek smirks in a devastating way but Stiles' eyes are eying the coffee. Derek hands one over without comment. Stiles can ignore a lot for coffee, even douchy city doctors. Stiles is already blissfully enjoying the cup when Derek speaks again.

"A little bird told me you didn't have a working coffee machine."

Stiles takes a moment to process that. The caffeine already hitting his system and his brain catching up to that. Someone knows.

"What?" He looks at the cup of coffee in his hand in utter betrayal.

Derek flushes. Stiles thinks the city boy should really used to the mountain air and wear a warmer jacket. His face looks red.

"I mean, I overheard from the nurse's-" Derek begins awkwardly.

"You didn't mention me right?" Stiles asks cutting him off. His voice a little hoarse. "At Rosita's?"

The last thing he needs is Miss Delilah tweeting about him.

"No," replies Derek, his mouth frowning in confusion. Stiles eyes it appreciatively. It is a nice mouth. But so not the point right now.

"Good," he sighs and takes another sip. "Been living off tree sap and gooseberries."

Derek looks horrified, his eyebrows arched speculatively.

"I'm kidding, instant coffee and tea." He shudders at that.

Derek laughs. Stiles tramps down on a grin that wants to burst out. The doctor has a nice laugh.

"I ordered two Ranger Specials," Derek says, lifting his paper cup in a toast which fall's flat when Stiles doesn't return it.

"Best coffee in the world," Stiles groans appreciatively into his cup. Ranger Special is Tessa's idea of a joke. It has the perfect ratio of sugar/whip cream/coffee Stiles has ever tasted.

"Clearly you need to get out more," says Derek without the mocking undertone which snaps Stiles out from his coffee bliss.

"Nuhuh, ambrosia, this is," he gulps it and misses Derek's fond smile.

Rosita's coffee is pure bliss. He's surprised that Derek ordered it. No one else orders the Ranger Special. Scott's compared it to a sugar coma. This is bad. His stomach grumbles in protest. Stiles hopes he's not developing an ulcer because of this.

"I need to get to work," declares Stiles suddenly. He jerks away from Derek, where they'd been leaning against the bulletin board in a companionable silence, holding his empty cup.

He had coffee with Derek Hale. For fifteen minutes. Derek watched him make pornographic noises over coffee for fifteen freaking minutes. That can't be good.

"Oh," Derek frowns. His coffee actually looks untouched. "Here, for the road."

The other cup is forced into his empty hand, his fingers brushing with Derek's warm ones as Derek grabs the empty one.

"I didn't have any," Derek says when Stiles shoots him a bewildered look. "Too much sugar for my sweet tooth."

Stiles looks at the cup and his brain is still too asleep to figure out why Derek bought two cups of coffee he wouldn't drink in the first place. But he figures he may as well enjoy the free coffee before half the town comes after him. "Thanks, I guess."

"Don't mention it," replies Derek. He looks flustered. Stiles can't imagine why.

"See you around," Stiles says turning towards his jeep. And if he can plan it right, that will be never.

"You can count on it," Derek calls back as Stiles is getting into the driver's seat. "I'm still waiting for that name."

Stiles snorts. "It'll take more than coffee," he calls out and guns the engine making sure to power lock the doors. One can't be too careful.

Derek merely salutes him with the empty cup leaving Stiles with an awkward feeling in his gut.

---

It's around midday when Stiles is up at the old observatory and spots one of the wolves that has become unofficial Beacon Hills' mascot. By the looks of the colouring, it's Grumpy, the ol' mayor's pet who was re-released into the wild after several angry letters from PETA. Sadly, Grumpy didn't take to the pack life and usually gets his supper from Danny who still puts food out for the wolf.

"Hey there boy," he greets the wolf who is gnawing on something with glee. "What do you got there?"

The wolf looks up and trots over with his treat. A baseball. The only one for miles.

"Well, shit."