He might be freaking out a bit. Just like, a tiny bit, but surely that’s normal, right? He’s graduating. From college. He still feels like he graduated from high school mere days ago, so the fact that he can say he has a degree now, it’s kinda crazy.
Thankfully, he’s not the only one hyperventilating.
“I burned my pasta yesterday.” Sheila, his best friend since they were both wide-eyed freshmen, says in an ominous tone. She has a death grip on his arm, his hand slowly turning a startling white compared to her own darker skin tone. “How the hell do they expect us to be functioning adults in society when I can barely cook mac’n’cheese?”
He can totally sympathize with her. He can’t remember the last time he ate something that wasn’t take-out or microwave-ready (his mom isn’t too happy about that to be honest, going on and on about calories and vegetables and are you eating right?). But, its fine really, he didn’t get a degree in cooking so he gets a pass.
But oh god, he has a degree.
“Andy- Andy, are you listening to me?” Sheila shakes his arm quite violently, effectively snapping him out of his daze.
“Wha- yes, yes, we can’t cook, we aren’t adults.” He pauses. “We’re graduating.” He says this like it’s a revelation. And really, he can’t quite wrap his mind around it. Surely it’s a mistake. Why someone thinks it’s a good idea for him to have a degree is beyond his understanding.
Sheila sucks in air quickly, choking a bit as she flaps her hands at him. “Oh my god, don’t remind me.”
Andy pats her sympathetically, looking around the room at his fellow classmates-soon-to-be-graduates. Most are chatting with each other, piling up on the food provided by the engineering department for this semi-formal end of the term dinner. There are faculty members mingling around as well, professors who have provided guidance and advice and life experiences throughout the years. He can recognize almost all of them, professors and classmates alike, especially since everyone practically take the same classes in their last years.
He’s about to offer to get Sheila a drink since she’s still hacking, when a friend comes up to them, a stormy look on her face. “Anyone know what he’s doing here?”
Andy and Sheila turn to where Bree jerked her head to, and okay, her attitude might not be justified, but the question might be. “He’s a history professor, right?” Andy asks, still patting Sheila absentmindedly. “Dale, Hale, something or other?”
“Yes.” Bree hisses, eyes narrowing at the professor. “And this is far from the history department.”
Sheila clears her throat, batting at Andy’s hand. “You know, I’ve never understood your dislike towards him. He’s kinda hot.”
“What, he is!”
Bree rolls her eyes. “Dislike is too light a word actually.” She huffs, crossing her arms.
“Isn’t he married?” Andy asks. He’s certain about that, it had been big news around campus, but he can’t remember for sure what the fuss was all about. Bree, however, looks murderous.
“Unfortunately. And honestly, Stiles deserves so much better.”
Andy whips his head to look at her. “He’s married to Stiles?” As if on cue, Stiles sidles up to Professor Hale (at least Andy thinks its Hale), two drinks in hand and a cookie half hanging from his mouth.
Stiles is pretty much famous around the engineering department, always getting into arguments with the professors (all in good fun, of course), tripping everywhere he goes- he almost took down Sheila once trying to take out a paper from his backpack. But Andy honestly couldn’t remember ever knowing Stiles was married.
Bree continues glowering at the couple. “Yeah, but studies show that you if you married under 25, you’re more likely to get a divorce.” She shrugs. “So Stiles may yet have a chance at happiness.”
“I don’t know, I mean they look pretty happy together.” Sheila says.
Andy’s pretty sure they’re not being conspicuous at all, blatantly staring at Stiles and Professor Hale. And well, they do sort of look happy; Professor Hale must be saying something hilarious from the way Stiles is laughing.
Bree scoffs. “Puppy love, doesn’t last.”
Stiles bursts out laughing again.
“I’m serious though! I took his class for my social studies GE and it was an absolutely pain. Honestly, he may be attractive objectively if you’re into that, but that’s it.” An offended look crosses Professor Hale’s face, Stiles patting his shoulder and trying not to laugh.
Sheila gives her a half-shrug, jostling Andy from where he’s been staring at the couple. “Well, he kinda has to be smart too, he is a professor after all. So like, beauty and brains is a good combo, isn’t it?”
Bree lets out a disbelieving noise. “Yeah, ok, he’s a history professor. How hard can that be, it’s just a bunch of memorizing dates and dead dudes. And Stiles is so much better looking than him.”
Stiles is turning an alarming shade of red from trying not to laugh; Professor Hale must be the funniest person ever.
And Andy has never really looked at Stiles before but, “hm yeah, Stiles is kinda cute.”
“Kinda?” Bree looks mildly insulted on Stiles’ behalf, but Andy is still staring at Stiles, now a hand covering his mouth and shoulders shaking from laughter.
“Ok, let’s say they don’t get a happy ending: isn’t Stiles like, completely gay? Because I know you’ve hung out with Stiles before.” Sheila says, hand on her hip and an eyebrow raised pointedly.
Professor Hale seems to be glaring at Stiles, who for some reason or other, looks rather sheepish.
Bree, however, doesn’t even look embarrassed at being caught with ulterior motives. “Stiles got drunk at Andrea’s party and Carlos may or may not have told me that Stiles is bisexual when Carlos asked him.” She pauses, looking up at the ceiling as if trying to remember something. “I think his exact words were that he likes attractive people, and his first love was a girl, so.”
Professor Hale looks rather upset now, arms crossed and looking away from Stiles, who is trying to tug down his husband’s (oh god, Andy still can’t believe it) arms. There’s a smile lingering on Stiles’ face though, so Andy assumes it can’t all be that bad.
“You’re ridiculous. And I can’t believe Carlos told you that.” Andy says, still looking at Stiles apparently trying to grovel.
“Carlos may have been bribed.” Bree admits. “But it was important information.”
“Yeah ok, but you’re forgetting the slight detail of us graduating.”
Bree smiles slightly. “I know for a fact Stiles is staying here for his Master’s. And guess who is too?”
Stiles is back to laughing at what Professor Hale is saying, patting his cheek and shaking his head.
“Well they still seem pretty into each other.” Sheila says, “It’s kinda too much to be honest.”
There’s a moment when Stiles begins to turn his head in their direction, and they all whip their heads away so as to not be caught staring.
“Um, so how ‘bout this dinner huh?” Sheila asks, looking far from casual as she examines her nails.
Andy’s about to reply when he feels someone come up next to them.
Andy almost laughs at the expression on Bree’s face, a mixture between awe and annoyance when she looks up.
“Hi Stiles, erm Professor Hale.” Sheila says, wriggling her fingers in a slight wave. “Bit far from your department, isn’t it?”
Andy sighs. Way to be conspicuous.
Stiles grins widely (Andy can almost hear Bree sigh dreamily) and reaches behind him to grasp Professor Hale’s hand (Bree now looks like she swallowed a lemon). “I’m his department.” He says, winking.
Professor Hale flushes a bright red, looking like he wants to far away from his husband (Andy will never get over that).
“So Stiles,” Bree says, smiling way too brightly (Andy doesn’t miss the way Professor Hale seems to stiffen), “you excited to give your speech at graduation?”
“Terrified to be honest.” Stiles says, but then he grins, squirming closer to Professor Hale. “But I know my boo will be up front and center to catch me if I trip so I’m good.”
Andy is seriously suffering from secondhand embarrassment but Professor Hale manages to look fond while also trying to kill Stiles with his glare. His hand is now resting on Stiles’ hip, pulling him even closer, as if they weren’t practically on top of each other already.
Bree’s laugh is forced. “How cute.”
Stiles nods somberly in agreement. “It’s his cross to bear.” He sighs dramatically before straightening up. “Ah, I see Professor Todd and I have a bone to pick with him. C’mon babe, be my back-up.”
“Told you not to call me that.” Professor Hale grumbles, but he grabs Stiles’ hand nonetheless. It seems instinctive, like there’s no question Professor Hale won’t be there for Stiles.
“I’m sorry, Shnookums.” Stiles simpers, and Andy is sure all three would rather not witness how sincerely in love Stiles looks, even when he’s teasing. He can feel goosebumps in his arms just from the last minute, even with the pained look on Professor Hale’s face. “Right, well catch up with you guys later.” Stiles says, giving them all a salute before dragging Professor Hale in the direction of the engineering professor.
There’s silence following Stiles’ departure until, “I kinda wanna throw up.” Sheila says, looking slightly in shock.
Andy squirms a bit, “it was cute?” He doesn’t want to be rude, because it must be nice, having someone who loves you no matter what.
“Divorce rates.” Bree grumbles. “I remain optimistic.”
From afar, Stiles bursts out laughing before grabbing Professor Hale’s face and kissing him in front of everyone.
(It almost makes tolerable the disgustingly sappy nuzzling Professor Hale does afterwards just for the look on Bree’s face).