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Chance only favours the prepared mind

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“Has anyone ever told you you have a magnificent brow?” the guy asked, picking at the counter of the Hale produce stall.  Derek had drawn the short end that day in more than one way.  First, he was working at the counter of his family’s produce stall.  At the Farmers' Market.

 

If there was one thing Derek hated more than strangers batting their eyelashes at him and feeding him some corny line, it was selling it.

 

Corn, that is.

 

At Farmers' Markets.  Derek really hated the Farmers' Market. If given the option between fresh food and purchasing things at the grocery store, he’d pick the grocery store every time, just because he hated the Farmers' Market that much.  He was raised on an acreage that usually had some kind of crop, so that was a kind of self-defeating mindset to have.  Predominantly, they ran a vineyard, but his mother liked to dabble for fun, though Derek couldn’t see what was fun about getting up at 4 AM to sell food to people who couldn’t provide for themselves.

 

But there it was, if there were two things Derek hated, it was being hit on and Farmers' Markets.  He could manage Hale and Hearty Produce for the day.  It wasn’t that difficult to take people’s money in exchange for goods, but the other thing?

 

“I lost a bet,” Derek answered gravely, figuring it sufficient warning.

 

“Yeah, I can tell by your customer service skills.  Laaaacking,” the guy said, adjusting the cuff of his plaid shirt.  “But I’ll give you a hand with the next step.  Just add together the price of my 2 items, tell it to me in that surprisingly not gruff tone of voice you have, and I’ll pass over money.”

 

“Did you have to hit on me?”

 

“I didn’t have to do anything,” the guy told him, giving Derek this expression like he thought Derek was the least socialized person on the planet, magnificent brow or not.  And oh geez, there were going to be Cro-Magnon jokes in his future, weren’t there?  Especially if the two of them had to spend time with each other.  This guy seemed like the type.

 

“But you did,” Derek reminded him.  “Movies at 8, meet you there. You can pick the movie. Is that how people do this?”

 

“Usually they start with being a little less hostile, and maybe add in the idea of ‘hey, do you want to go out wit…” the guy trailed off, head rearing back as he stared at Derek with wide eyes.  “What? Wait… what? You want to go to the movies with me?  Me?”

 

Derek frowned.  “I just said that, didn’t I?”

 

“I don’t know, I was only half paying attention because I thought you were giving me signals to get out of your space, so I was trying to get out of your space.  My world is tilting on axis.”  He started to look around.  “I was sure my dad actually woke me up at the buttcrack of dawn to come to this place, but I could be wrong.”

 

“Do you want to go to the movies or not?” Derek asked impatiently.

 

“Do YOU want to go to the movies? Because I suspect not,” plaid-shirt countered.  “Or do I have you wrong? Are you just a perpetual grumpy face but underneath you’re super excited to take me to see the new Percy Jackson movie?”

 

“Not that.”

 

“New Matt Damon sci-fi flick?”

 

“No.”

 

“Wolverine?”

 

“Matt Damon.”

 

“No Wolverine?  Eugh… Deal.  Too bad this didn’t happen a few weeks ago, we could see Pacific Rim,” he winked. 

 

URG.

 

Something must have shown on Derek’s face, possibly distaste, because the guy took a step back with surprised eyes.

 

“Wow, ok. No flirting or just no rimming jokes?”

 

“No flirting would be good,” Derek said, speaking before he really thought about it.  If he was asking the guy on a date, flirting should probably be something he should consider tolerating for the two to three hours it took for the date to be over.  Though, at the movies they wouldn’t have to talk.  It looked like he did something right today.

 

Not that his sisters would agree.

 

“Then…” the guy started, eyes narrowing at Derek.  Derek expected questions about why he wasn’t allowed to flirt, or even why Derek had asked him out, but… shit, he’d have to get the guy’s name… The Guy surprised him.  “What kind of bet did you lose that you have to go out with this?” he asked, gesturing to himself.

 

“First person to flirt with me,” Derek mumbled.  He was definitely scowling now.

 

“Ahh.” The guy looked around.  “I can’t be the first.  There are a lot of hipster college girls here, and you've got this broody, bad boy who may also be environmentally conscientious vibe going for you.”

 

“I do not..." Derek started, giving the guy a stunned expression. Heh.  He probably should have considered that sooner.  Maybe he’d invest in some plaid, because it certainly wasn’t doing anything to help him develop attraction for the guy across from him.  "I got the call about ten minutes ago.”

 

Plaid nodded.  “And you verified that the other person was telling the truth?  No loopholes?”

 

“Unfortunately not."

 

The guy looked sympathetic.  "That sucks, man. I could say no. Would that work?  You did your duty and tried, end of bet."

 

Derek scowled.  "My sister made sure the conditions of the bet would only be met after the date was over."

 

“Smart sister,” he mused.  “Sucks for you.  Sounds like the type of person you wouldn’t want to bet against in the first place.”

 

“You’re assuming I had a choice,” Derek responded, bracing himself the counter between them with one arm.  “I’m Derek, by the way.”

 

The guy frowned at him, thinning his lips as he looked at Derek.  “I know. Dude. Awkward.  We were on the lacrosse team together for a year. I only warmed the bench while you were on the field, but I was there for every early morning practice, and after school slaughter, and that time Finstock took us out for pizza after a game and made us run suicides until we puked, only you didn't puke because for some reason you didn't order the pizza."

 

"I..."

 

The guy smirked at him, leaning across the counter so that they were face to face.  "I've known you most of my life, so it's great to know I've made an impression. Stiles," he said, holding out his hand.  "I go by Stiles."

 

Derek couldn’t place the name at all, and it was a disconcerting feeling, like he was being stripped of the belief that he understood his life very slowly.

 

“I’ll see you at 8,” Stiles promised.

 

~

 

It said a lot of things about Derek's dating history that he forgot that movies typically came on around 7 and then again at 9, so as he stared at the showtimes in front of him, he realized he had almost an hour with Stiles that would have to be filled with awkward conversation, though, he wasn't sure things could get more awkward than the "I've known you all my life" reveal.

 

Except for maybe the fact that Stiles out of plaid meant Stiles in a pair of jeans and a button up, both of which were slim fitting and obviously actually dressed like this was a date.  Derek barely recognized him, and might not have if Stiles hadn’t stood next to him and said “you smell like the patchouli oil the vendor across from you sells.”

 

“Still?” Derek asked, unsure if Stiles was pulling his leg or not. 

 

“You’re wearing the same shirt you were earlier,” Stiles rolled his eyes as Derek attempted to smell his shoulder.  “That’s what happens when you make like zero effort.  If I didn’t know you weren’t actually interested before, I’d be wondering.  There’s a wine stain on your jeans from where you wiped your fingers on them.”

 

“Maybe I’m just a slob,” Derek answered, somehow annoyed that Stiles was calling him on the fact Derek hadn’t taken the time to go change after running errands and going to the gym.

 

“You forget, I know you, dude.  I’ve seen you spike your hair with a metric ton of gel before going out to meet the girls from the swim team.  I saw you primp after we won the game against Redding during the final home game of the season.  You changed your shirt right in front of me once in the hallway when there was a highlighter stain on it before going out on a Friday night.  You’re a lot of things, Derek Hale, but a slob ain’t one of them.”

 

“That was a low point in my life,” Derek gritted his teeth.  “I used to spike my hair.”

 

Stiles eyed his head and Derek was tempted to touch his hair to make sure it was still styled the way he wanted it to be.   Then he rolled his eyes at Derek and walked away.

 

He was coming back, right? Derek wondered, trying to see his reflection in the glass case covering one of the posters.  Maybe he should have changed his clothes.  Why hadn’t he?

 

~

 

"So,” Stiles gestured, shoving a nacho in his mouth.  He had a plate of them in front of him as they sat at a small bistro table beside the snack bar.  Stiles had claimed, when he bought them, that it was just a pre-movie snack, and that before they moved into the theatre there would be popcorn in his future, and he expected Derek to pay.  Then he had pushed a Pepsi into Derek’s hands and told him not to claim Stiles’ had never done anything for him.  Derek actually liked Pepsi, and he was worried it was just another thing in a long line of things that Stiles knew about him.  “Do you even like guys?”

 

Derek almost choked on his drink.  

 

Yeah, Stiles had done a lot for him.  Stiles was trying to kill him, Derek could see it now.

 

Stiles just raised an eyebrow at him.  "It's a valid question. I hit on you, you were contractually obligated to ask me out, but do you even like guys?  Are you attracted to them?"

 

Derek shrugged. "Objectively, I guess."

 

"Objectively, you guess?" Stiles echoed incredulously, spewing nacho crumbs in disbelief as he shook his head and tried to cover his mouth, fumbling with the sleeve of his shirt to wipe away the soggy pieces he left on the table in front of him.

 

"You're not making a good case for it," Derek pointed out.  "I've occasionally found men attractive," he shrugged again.  "But it's usually on a personal level rather than a general all encompassing.." Derek made a vague gesture that he hoped indicated what he meant, because he wasn't sure himself.  “Attraction.”

 

“Oh, ok.  That’s… honest.  And it’s not like I had much of a chance with you beforehand.  So I’m just going to think of this as two old teammates bro-ing out and seeing a movie.  Do I still get to pick it?  Because I totally think we should see the Matt Damon one because a lot of the movies out right now are sequels to something, and you don’t look like you watch a lot of movies,” he continued on blithely.  “Despicable Me 2, Smurfs 2, Percy Jackson, RED 2, Kick-Ass 2, Grown Ups 2, 2 Guns… though that one might just be something with the word 2 in the title.”

 

If Derek hadn’t picked up on it, he might have gotten distracted by Stiles’ movie logic, but he had noticed the way Stiles seemed a little distressed by the whole situation, like the fact that Derek admitted dating a guy was a small possibility made it all the worse, and he had no idea why.

 

Except he did.

 

Fuck his life, of all the people to hit on him at that particular time, it had to be someone who had a crush on him and would be genuinely hurt by the fact this wasn’t real. 

 

That was why Derek should never date.  Ever.  He was cursed.

 

“Fine, let’s see that one,” Derek agreed.

 

 

 

Derek found himself leaning closer to Stiles as the movie progressed, more entertained by Stiles' running commentary than he was by the action on the screen in front of them.  Stiles bent to accommodate him until they were both lounging in their seats, leaning towards each other with their heads almost side by side.  He could feel Stiles' breath along his neck as he turned his head to murmur scathing observations into Derek's ear.

 

Derek laughed so hard, the couple three rows down turned around and hushed him.  Derek hadn’t been hushed in a movie since high school, and even then it wasn’t because he was loud but because he was with a group of teenage boys.

 

“I call bullshit on this subplot,” Stiles said.  “I think I’ve seen this before in about 100 other movies.”

 

Derek turned his head to respond, finding himself closer to Stiles than he realized.  Their faces were so close, Derek could see the way the movie screen reflected in Stiles' eyes, casting a glow over his features that emphasized the slope of his jawline and the shape of his eyes.  Stiles licked his lips as Derek blinked in surprise, and his gaze naturally followed the movement.  

 

And he kind of wanted to kiss the guy he was very clear to that this wasn't a real date.

 

Shit.

 

How did that even happen?

 

Stiles withdrew, pulling away from Derek's space.  "Sorry," he muttered.  "That was unintentionally intense."

 

And Derek missed the heat of Stiles’ arm pressed along his, and the intimacy of their quiet conversation, like they were the only ones in the theatre.  He thought about what this would be like on his couch at home, just a quick thought of the comfort of Stiles curling into Derek’s space even more than he was now that he quickly put out of his brain.

 

“What character is that again?” Derek asked, putting himself over the implicit line the armrest represented, moving closer. 

 

“The guy from the scene with the thing,” Stiles responded, relaxing.  “Dude, keep up.”

 

~

 

“It wasn’t bad,” Stiles decided as they walked out of the theatre.  “I’ve seen so much worse that I’m almost tempted to say it was good.  Well, this is me,” he gestured to a blue jeep and moved out of Derek’s personal bubble.

 

Derek hadn’t even noticed Stiles was still in his space until he stepped towards his car with his keys in his hand, leaving Derek feeling a bit bereft on the sidewalk.  It was a surprisingly cold sensation.

 

Derek closed the distance between them. “Wait?” he said, taking advantage of the fact that Stiles didn’t know he was behind him to allow their chests to knock together when he turned back.  Derek automatically reached out to grab Stiles’ elbow, drawing Stiles closer to him at the incrementally slow pace he learned to use to give the other person a chance to withdraw if they wanted to.  Stiles didn’t move as Derek slid his fingers along his jaw, leaning in to kiss him.

 

He did move about three seconds after their lips touched, pulling back with a shaky breath that morphed into a self-effacing wince.  "Let me guess, last requirement?" Stiles questioned.

 

"What?" Derek frowned at him.

 

"Thanks for the... movie, and snacks, and..." Stiles gestured, pulling away quickly.  "Not a terrible time.  Bro-ing out."

 

"I had fun," Derek told him, and Stiles probably read the lie in his tone, because he looked skeptical.  Derek had had a confusing time, an unexpected time, and maybe even an enlightening time, but what he hadn't experienced was a lot of fun.  He’d been too self-aware for that.  That didn't mean he hadn't enjoyed himself.  "Maybe we can do it again."

 

"Yeah, sure," Stiles said, obviously taking Derek's words for being just words, just Derek being polite.  "Let me know the next time you lose a bet with your sister."

 

"Stiles." Derek started sharply, suddenly seeing how this was going.   “That wasn’t what I meant.”

 

“Later,” Stiles said with a backwards wave, moving so quickly towards the door to his jeep that Derek wasn’t even sure how to go after him.

 

Shit, yeah, Derek should definitely not date.  Ever.

 

~

 

"Oh my god, the Sheriff's kid?" Laura said when Derek told her.  "You're sooo in for a speeding ticket in your future, especially with the way you drive."

 

"It wasn't that bad," Derek muttered.  "I was honest about what was happening. Stiles isn't going to be vengeful or anything."

 

"CORA!" Laura yelled.  "THE FIRST PERSON TO HIT ON DEREK WAS THE STILINSKI KID!"

 

"STILES?" Cora yelled back incredulously. Derek could hear footsteps on the stairs before she bound into the living room. "Oh my god, Derek, watch out for his mouth.  Don't look directly at it."

 

"Save your advice.  They already went out because Derek's a jerk and didn't tell us beforehand.  We could have prepped him.  Oh my god, way too unintentionally dirty for my brain to process. No, mental image."

 

“Yeah, Derek,” Cora said, ignoring Laura.  “We could have given you pointers.  You should have told us.  We would have been there for you.”

 

Yeah, because they would have been watching from the back of the theatre.

 

“Like avoid looking at his mouth.  And also his hands.  Half my year is so hung up over him it’s ridiculous.  There’s a fan club and everything, but he’s always been so focused on the one person who won’t even give him the time of day that he doesn’t even notice the rest of them.  It’s kind of unfair.”

 

Oh, Stiles had been a freshman when Derek was a senior.  That explained everything.  Derek hadn’t even bothered learning the names of the freshmen on the team.

 

“Me?” Derek asked with dawning horror.  That was far worse than Derek had considered.  He probably broke the guy’s heart.

 

“No, you egomaniac.  Lydia Martin.”

 

Derek frowned at her in confusion, his brain refusing to accept that it wasn’t him that Stiles was completely focused on. “Oh, I thought… he seemed intent on me.”

 

“He probably felt bad for you,” Laura told him.  “We all do.”

 

“He was into me,” Derek muttered sulkily.  “It was an ok time.”

 

"An ok time?  And?” Cora asked, turning towards him and swatting his arm.  "AND?"

 

"And what?" Derek asked.

 

"And did you stare at the siren call of his gorgon mouth and did it turn you to stone?"

 

"That doesn't make sense," Laura said, wrinkling her nose.  "You're convoluting your Greek analogies.”

 

"Shut up," Cora sniped back.  "You know what I mean.  You haven’t seen this guy eat, but Derek has."

 

"Derek is so painfully straight I don't think he'd notice the guy's mou..."

 

"I kissed him," Derek blurted out.

 

They both turned to stare at him in a way that instantly made him regret saying anything.  The symmetry of the movement was horror-movie levels of frightening.

 

"And I'm not painfully straight," Derek finished, crossing his arms over his chest.  "We should acknowledge that now before I take Stiles out again."

 

"Oh my god," Laura said in a quiet voice, and Derek congratulated himself for managing to surprise her.  

 

"Stiles claims another victim," Cora said ominously. 

 

~

 

Derek found his chance in the diner downtown when he stopped for a breakfast muffin, and he immediately took it.

 

"I want to date your son," Derek said instead of a standard greeting, taking a perverse sort of pleasure in seeing the Sheriff choke on his coffee.  It seemed very like-father, like-son.

 

"Excuse me?" the Sheriff asked.  "What's happening here? Are you asking my permission?"

 

"Not really," Derek frowned.  "I just don't have a way to contact him.  It seems kind of ill advised to start hanging around places hoping to run into the Sheriff's son."

 

"Isn't that what Facebook is for?" the Sheriff asked in confusion. 

 

"I don't have a Facebook."

 

"Who doesn't have a Facebook?" he asked.  "Stiles' 80 year old grandmother has a Facebook and keeps sending me pictures of Brad Pitt.  Get Facebook, son.  It's a far more socially acceptable way to stalk teenagers these days."

 

~

 

The problem with getting Facebook was that Derek felt kind of obligated to send friend requests to everyone else he knew because otherwise Stiles would notice if he was Derek's only friend.

 

What was an acceptable number of friends to have before he stopped looking lame and could send one to Stiles? He wondered, staring at his list.  His mother had laughed at him and said there was no way she was having her children friending her.  His own mother didn't even want to be his friend.  He was amazed anyone said yes if that was how well liked he was.  

 

"Now you and Stiles can be Facebook official," Laura said, laughing at him as she accepted his friend request on her phone right in front of him.  "I have work to do tagging a backlog of pictures of you skulking in the background of social events.  Mom has a great one of you falling off the ladder at Christmas time when Peter's kids were doing their play."

 

“Mom friended you?” Derek asked mournfully.

 

“No, you goober, Uncle Peter tagged me in it.”

 

“Uncle Peter friended you?”

 

Cora didn’t bother with the advice, she just sent him a link to a Facebook page called "SS Kissable" with the description of "As far as we know, no one has managed to sink this steamship."

 

Derek was so confused.  What did that mean? And why did his sister think he was interested in steamships?

 

“Whatever you do,” Laura warned him.  “Don’t ask him out by changing your profile to In A Relationship with Stiles Stilinski.  That’s waaay creepier than joining Facebook to Facebook stalk him.”

 

~

 

It turned out that Derek taking the Sheriff’s advice and getting Facebook wasn’t even necessary.  He was coerced into working the Farmers' Market again on Saturday morning by virtue of being the only one of his siblings who didn’t have plans the night before, and he was about an hour into his shift when Stiles showed up, leaning against the counter and blinking blearily at him.  “Do you have thyme?” he asked.

 

“It’s about 7:30.”

 

“Oh my God, that early?” Stiles asked in disgust, voice still craggy with sleep.  “And har har, you know what I mean.  The Patterson farm is sold out and dad only likes the fresh stuff.  Who knows why.”

 

“We don’t sell it, but mom grows some,” Derek told him, leaning against the counter across from Stiles, deliberately making their conversation more intimate, something just between them.  “I’ll see if I can get you some.”

 

“It’d be awesome if you could get me some thyme. I’d be in your debt, seriously.”

 

“How about at 7? We could go for supper this time.”

 

Stiles groaned.  “A ‘time’ joke again? I’m not even really pronouncing it the same.  And another date?  Dude, did you lose a new bet or something?  Maybe you should stop betting.”

 

“Did you?”

 

“What?” Stiles scrunched his nose at him.

 

“Did you lose a bet?” Derek smirked, narrowing the distance between them until Stiles was all he could see.  His eyes dropped to Stiles’ mouth, of course, it was an almost automatic because it was right there, and now that he was thinking about everything that Cora said, he could see why people became so distracted by it.  Why he was so distracted by it.  But, watching Stiles’ face was much more captivating.  “Here I am asking you out again and you seemed to have placed good money on me not being interested.”

 

“Whoa, smooth,” Stiles smirked.  “You are in a shockingly good mood this morning.”

 

“I wasn’t before you came.”

 

“Christ,” Stiles hissed, eyelashes fluttering in pleasure.  “You know how to lay it on thick.  Yeah, alright, supper.”

 

~

 

Derek was putting the finishing touches on his hair, the by-product of about fifteen minutes in front of a mirror because he cared a lot more than just the typical hand motion he usually went through with his gel – so, of course, he couldn’t get it just right and it was bothering him more than the fact his favourite charcoal button up was wrinkled around the waist from where one of his sisters wore it as a dress and then shoved it back in his closet.

 

His phone chimed and he dove for it, hoping it was Stiles but fearing it was Stiles changing his mind.

 

Cora Hale shared a link with you: SS Kissable + DLB Grumpy. 

 

Derek had at least figured out that SS Kissable was Stiles.  Cora’s age group was so weird.

 

"What the heck is a DLB?" Derek yelled from his bedroom.

 

"It's a ship prefix!" Cora yelled back.  "Look it up."