A Misunderstanding

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Derek is over fifteen minutes late. Stiles is trying not to get anxious yet, but he’s totally failing. This is their first date after years of friendship that always bordered on the potential for something more, and he can’t help but worry that Derek’s changed his mind. It is a little scary to be taking this step with someone he cares a lot about, but it’s a good kind of scare because he’s pretty sure Derek wants the same things that Stiles does. Namely, a relationship with romance and sex and a strong friendship that could eventually become something very serious for them.

After the clock shows twenty minutes past seven, he pulls out his phone to check for any messages or missed texts. There’s nothing. After dragging his fingers through his hair, messing up the styling that Lydia had done for him earlier, he calls Scott.

When he hears Scott answer, Stiles doesn’t give him time to even say hello before he asks, “Is there any kind of supernatural drama going on right now that I don’t know about?”

“Uh, no?” Scott sounds confused. “Hey, aren’t you supposed to be on your date by now? I love you, man, but calling me while on your first date with the dude you’ve had a thing for since high school, don’t even try denying it, isn’t the best thing to do. You know, Lydia’s being smug and gloating about your wardrobe choices. She said you look so good that it’ll be impossible for Derek to resist.”

“Yeah, well, tell your girlfriend that she’s wrong because Derek hasn’t even shown up yet.” Stiles grimaces. “As horrible as it sounds, I was hoping there had been some maniac troll or irritable fairies or anything that might be explain being stood up.”

“Dude, there’s no way Derek stood you up,” Scott says matter-of-factly. It would be so easy to believe him if not for the fact that Derek’s not here yet. “I’ve had to smell his excited nervousness since you agreed to go to dinner with him, not mention the pining lust for the last five years or so. He’s really into you, Stiles. Has been for a while.”

“Maybe it’s not enough?” Stiles suggests. “I mean, it’s been years of us dancing around each other and what our relationship could become, so maybe he decided he’d rather not risk our friendship or he decided he’s not actually ready for something serious.”

“You tried calling him already, right?” Scott asks. Stiles is quiet, and Scott groans. “Stiles! You’re twenty-four, not thirteen. You can’t just sit there getting all worked up and anxious without even giving him a call to find out what’s going on. There are a lot of things that might have made him late. Maybe he got a flat tire? Maybe he had some issue with one of his students?”

“Then he’d have called to tell me he was going to be late,” Stiles points out. “The phone works both ways, after all.”

“Call him,” Scott tells him firmly. “If he doesn’t answer, I’ll try calling him or do a quick sweep for any supernatural weirdness. If he’s changed his mind, you can come over and spend the night with me and Lydia. We’ll eat ice cream and watch bad horror movies.”

“That sounds like a good ‘I’ve been stood up’ alternative, but Lydia hates bad horror movies. Also, I kind of don’t want to call him,” Stiles admits, looking at the clock as another minute ticks by. “I’m not sure if I can handle him telling me he’s no longer interested.”

“See, you’re doing it!” Scott sighs. “Stiles, you can’t get upset until you give him a chance to explain. Hell, maybe he mixed up the times? It could be that simple, dumbass. Just call him and communicate like grown-ups.”

“I really don’t know if I like this whole mature Scotty who sounds like he’s watched too much Dr. Phil,” Stiles murmurs, lips twitching slightly despite his current mood. “I’m used to being the more mature one.”

“You’ve never been that mature, Stiles. And, in another couple of years, you can call me Dr. Scott,” Scott says cheerfully. “Though I’ll be giving advice on when to neuter your dog, not helping you with relationship stuff.”

“I’ll probably be single with a dozen dogs to keep me company, so I’m glad you’ll provide free vet care for all of them,” Stiles tells him.

“Free?” Scott snorts. “I don’t remember ever agreeing to give you free vet care for life, but I’m sure we can figure something out. Anyway, you won’t be single forever, so stop being melodramatic. Now, get off the phone and call Derek.”

“Yeah, yeah. I will.” Stiles isn’t sure if he’s got the nerve, but he knows Scott won’t hang up until he knows Stiles is going to call Derek. “Give Lydia a kiss for me and tell her thanks for helping me get ready for my non-date.”

“You’re so damn stubborn,” Scott says. “Just call Derek so you can stop freaking out. I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation.”

“Bye, Scott,” Stiles says, pushing the end call button before looking at the clock again. It’s now thirty minutes past the time Derek was supposed to pick him up for their date. Before he can start worrying more, his phone rings. It’s Derek’s ring tone. Feeling just a little nauseous, he accepts the call. “Hey, Derek.”

“Stiles, is something wrong?” Derek asks, his voice low and intense. “Have you had an accident? Or is it just work?”

“Wait, what?” Stiles frowns. “I was about to ask you that! You said seven, didn’t you? I’ve been waiting for half an hour, but you haven’t shown up yet.”

“I’ve been here since ten till seven,” Derek tells him. “I wanted to get a good table. Where are you? I don’t see you anywhere.”

“Table?” Stiles doesn’t understand. “I’m at home. You said you’d pick me up at seven. You’re already at the restaurant?”

“Yes, I’m here.” Derek sighs. “I thought we decided to meet here because you’re working on that cold case project with Jordan, and you weren’t sure if you’d be coming directly from the station or not.”

“Oh.” Stiles vaguely remembers them talking about that but he knows they couldn’t have agreed to meet at the restaurant or he’d have definitely remembered that. “I mean, I remember discussing that, but I thought you said we’d just plan for seven and you’d pick me up.”

“That’s why you aren’t here then?” Derek sounds so relieved that Stiles can hear it over the phone. “I thought you weren’t interested anymore.”

“Hell no. I’ve been freaking out because you were late, and you’re usually early. I even called Scott to make sure nothing supernatural might have attacked.” Stiles feels some of the tension leaving him. “So, uh, I can be there in like ten minutes or less.”

“That would be wonderful,” Derek murmurs before he huffs a laugh. “You don’t even know how happy I am to realize it was just a misunderstanding. I was worrying myself to death before I decided I should call to make sure there wasn’t anything terrible wrong. I thought you’d have at least told me you didn’t want to date before I actually showed up at the restaurant, after all.”

Stiles finishes locking his door and heads to his Jeep. “I’d never stand you up that way. It’s just mean, and, while I might be an asshole, I’m not cruel. Besides that, I’m not crazy. There’s no way I’d ever change my mind about you, Der.”

“Are you on the way now?” Derek asks, obviously hearing the road noise now that Stiles is driving. “We almost messed this up, didn’t we?”

“Yeah, it could have been really awful,” he agrees, thanking whoever invented Bluetooth for creating such an awesome technology. “Scott told me I needed to balls up and call you instead of working myself into an insecure fit, but I was still hesitant to try because I wasn’t sure I’d want to hear what you said.”

Derek snorts. “It took me thirty minutes before I finally decided to call you. I didn’t want to just leave and assume you were standing me up if you might have had car trouble or had to work late but forgot to call to let me know. I mean, I was tempted to just listen to the voices in my head that kept telling me you’d decided I wasn’t someone you wanted to date and that I was stupid for even thinking we might be able to develop a romantic relationship. In the end, you were more important than some stupid voices in my head.”

“I’m glad you didn’t listen to them.” Stiles stops for a red light. “Even if I had the same voices in my own head, I’d decided to call you when my phone rang. You just beat me to it. I’m glad we both feel like there’s enough potential for this to become something serious for us that we’re willing to put ourselves out there.”

“I’m glad to hear that you’re just as committed to giving this dating thing a chance, Stiles. The waiter is starting to give me those sympathetic looks,” Derek murmurs quietly. “He thinks I’ve been stood up. Doesn’t realize you’re on the way. You know, I think I’ll go ahead and order some wine. Maybe an appetizer?”

“That sounds good. You know what I like to eat, so I trust you.” Stiles is nearly at the Italian restaurant where they’re having their date tonight. “I’ll be there in a few minutes. I keep hitting every red light, though. It’s funny, but I’m almost glad we fucked up because it’s given us a chance to talk about what we both want from this without it being awkward or strange.”

“You’re right. I feel reassured, in a way, hearing you’re as interested in dating me as I am you,” Derek admits. “I’m not so good with talking about feelings and stuff in person, but the phone’s made it easier. Probably helped along by the relief that I was worried over nothing.”

“Yeah, relief is a good word for it.” Stiles sees the restaurant up ahead, turning on his signal so he can get over into the other lane. When he pulls into the parking lot, he says, “I’m here. I’ll be inside in a second.”

“See you soon,” Derek tells him.

Stiles grins. “Very soon. And we’ll make this the best first date ever."