Blind dates are something the devil must have created to force people to go through hell on a daily basis. This is number thirteen in the last year, and, once again, Stiles swears it’s going to be the last one. He only ever manages to keep that vow for about a month before one of his friends wears him down by parading their happy relationships in front of him. Seeing them happy and doing couples things while he’s always the odd man out reminds him how lonely he gets, makes him think about sharing his life with someone, and his defenses crumble as he agrees to another blind date on the off chance that maybe there’ll be sparks this time. There never are, though.
There are other options, of course. He tried on-line dating for nearly six months after he turned twenty-four and decided he was ready for a real relationship because the loneliness and random casual sex just wasn’t fulfilling anymore. It hadn’t gone well. There were a lot of people who thought the internet dating aspect of things gave them freedom to lie about themselves and their lives. There were also a lot of people who used the internet dating apps for easy sex, not looking for commitment at all, and he hadn’t been interested in one night stands. There was only so much of that he could take before stopping the whole thing.
Speed dating had followed. Also a huge disaster because Stiles isn’t someone who can impress someone in five minutes. It takes people time to warm up to him, and he’d been nervous during the first event, so he hadn’t even really said much of anything. The second attempt hadn’t been any better, since he talked too much then. There hadn’t been a third try. After speed dating, there had been several social events geared towards singles, and he’d attended some aimed at both the supernatural and humans because the human only ones reeked of bigotry to him. He’d made some new friends, but no one who wanted to date him or was interested in romance. Then he’d insisted on taking a break, which lasted a few months until he was back at the beginning again. That’s when he started the year cycle of blind dates, foolishly thinking that having his friends arrange dates would be more successful.
It hadn’t been.
Lucky number thirteen is Lydia’s choice, so he actually hopes maybe it’s going to be someone he wants to talk to through dessert, at least. Most of the others have made him want to leave during the meal, if not during appetizers. The worst part is that his pack really does seem to think their choices are perfect for him, which indicates they either don’t know him very well at all despite being friends with him since their school days or they have no idea what his type is, the likely option since Stiles hasn’t really dated anyone seriously before. They wouldn’t know anything more than what he finds attractive enough for a one night stand, not what he wants in a partner for a serious relationship.
Lydia is his closest friend outside of Scott, though, so she knows him pretty well. They’ve even done the whole ‘eating ice cream and talking about their dream boys and girls’ thing during high school after they both realized they were bisexual. Still, he knows better than to get his hopes up because it’s probably not going to work out at all. It’s not negativity but just realism, he tells the annoyingly peppy voice in his head that sounds like Scott. And, just like Scott, the voice ignores his protests and tries to give him a pep talk about this dating being the one. Stiles isn’t even looking for that type of mythical connection because he’s not sure he’s destined to find someone who fits together with him like in the romance novels.
Really, he’s just looking for someone who likes him enough to even try dating him.
The restaurant where he’s meeting his date has an excellent reputation, but he’s never had the chance to try it until tonight. It’s even been profiled on the Food Network, so he’s going to get an amazing meal tonight even if there aren’t any sparks between him and his date. Triskelion serves real food, none of that artsy gastro chemical stuff that is like two bites for a hundred dollars. He’d read the menu on-line during his lunch break at the precinct, and the prices are definitely steeper than he’d ever usually pay for a simple meal unless it was a special occasion. Fortunately, Lydia has insisted on footing the bill since she made the reservations in the first place. Probably after listening to him whine about wanting to try it since he’d seen their duck fat fried curly fries smothered in bison chili and fresh melted cheese on television.
When he enters the restaurant, he’s glad he dressed up because, otherwise, he’d have felt awkward. There isn’t a dress code, it’s not all posh and super formal that way, but it’s always crowded, hence the need for reservations, and the prices are high due to the fine ingredients they use for their menu items. Still, it’s Friday night, date night, and people are dressed up to make their meals an experience. He’s traded his ill-fitting suit that he wears as a detective for an expensive tailored suit that Lydia insisted he buy after college so he’d have at least one item in his closet that was appropriate for him to wear out with her.
The suit does fit him very well. It should considering how much he paid for it, but he can’t complain since it’s been a good investment. It’s a nice dark grey and he’s wearing a bright pink shirt that he totally pulls off. He has to show some part of his personality when he’s dressed up in a monkey suit, so he chooses brightly colored shirts to go with the suit. Tonight, he even wore a tie, mostly because Kira agreed to help Lydia dispose of his body if he didn’t and, well, he’s scared of both of them, alright? They’re much scarier than anyone he’s ever faced while working at the SFPD, that’s for sure. His hair is as good as he can get it, slightly messy in a way he hopes is attractive but, well, he couldn’t do the gel thing without looking like a douche, so he went more natural tonight.
There’s an attractive blonde at the hostess stand, a crisp white shirt doing nothing to conceal her ample cleavage, and she’s giving the man in front of her a look that indicates she’s currently envisioning many ways to kill him in a multitude of ways at the moment. Despite that, she’s smiling politely and doing her job. Since he’s meeting someone and actually running just a few minutes late, he scans the restaurant looking for someone who might be his potential blind date. It’s couples or families all around, but he notices a single man sitting alone at a booth near the door to the kitchen. The man looks up, narrowing his eyes slightly, and Stiles is struck dumb because hot damn that’s a gorgeous specimen right there.
“Thank you, Lydia,” he murmurs, waving the hostess off when she looks at him. “I see my date. Thanks.”
Crossing the restaurant, he approaches the man and hates that his palms are starting to sweat because this guy is not only out of his league, he’s in like an entirely different universe. So far out of his league that Stiles couldn’t even hope to catch him if he took over the Millennium Falcon at hyperspeed. Trust Lydia to find some guy so good looking that he could have stepped out of the pages of GQ. The man is staring at him, thick eyebrows going up then down as he seems to realize Stiles must be his date. He’s probably disappointed, which makes Stiles remember this is a blind date that isn’t ever going to be more than dinner because guys like him don’t get to date Greek Gods come to life.
“I’m so sorry I’m late,” he says, awkwardly running his fingers through his hair. “I was processing a suspect, so I got off work half an hour late, and it just went downhill from there. I hope you haven’t been waiting long? I’m Stiles, by the way. Lydia never did tell me your name, probably knowing I’d do a background search before meeting you.” He smiles before realizing how that sounds. “Uh, I mean, I wouldn’t have, but my paranoia about bad dates is sort of legendary with my friends now. Have you ordered yet?”
The man’s eyes widen slightly, and he’s staring at Stiles like he’s not sure why he’s even there, which is disconcerting and slightly humiliating because Stiles usually gets to at least order before his potential date realizes they aren’t a good match. Determined not to let this one get away that easily, he sits down and looks for the menu. The guy clears his throat, making Stiles look up at him. God, he’s gorgeous. Dark hair, beautiful eyes, scruff on his jaw like he hasn’t shaven in days, pretty lips, broad shoulders that his nice suit fits extremely well. Stiles ducks his head before he gets caught staring in a possibly offensive way.
“Derek.” His voice is soft, not as deep as Stiles might have expected. Stiles glances up and is surprised to see that the guy, Derek, is looking at him curiously, his lips curved into a slight smile. “You, uh, I haven’t been waiting long?” He blinks and leans back against the booth, staring at Stiles. “I haven’t ordered yet. Was that everything you asked?”
“I think so?” Stiles bites his lip, noticing Derek drop his gaze to stare at his mouth before quickly looking up. The tips of his ears are turning red, and he reaches for a glass of water, taking a rather large gulp as Stiles stares at him. “I really am sorry I’m late. I’m usually punctual, and it wasn’t some passive aggressive thing because this is another blind date, and I’ve resigned myself to adopting a dozen dogs and dying alone by now.”
“Dogs instead of cats?” Derek arches a brow and that small smile is back again. “I thought the crazy old cat lady was the typical saying.” He looks Stiles over in a rather brazen way. “You’re too young to resign yourself to being alone. Besides, I find it hard to believe that you’ve had a string of dates and no one has snatched you up yet.”
“Dogs are less likely to eat me if I die and they get hungry,” Stiles points out. “I don’t want to be buried with parts of my face missing because my pets got hungry.” He smiles when Derek huffs a laugh and looks bemused instead of worried about what the hell he’s gotten into it by agreeing to a date with Stiles. “And you might be rather successful at that charming flatterer thing, but no one has snatched me up or even been tempted.” He shrugs. “I’m twenty-six, so I’m old enough to have spent the last three years or so trying to find someone interested in a relationship instead of just sex. Hence this blind date tonight. The thirteenth in nearly as many months because I make it about a month before I give in and let another friend set me up.”
“You mentioned processing a suspect. Are you a police officer?” Derek actually looks interested, which is so surprising that Stiles can’t help but smile. Derek rubs the back of his neck and glances behind Stiles, narrowing his eyes before shaking his head once then focusing back on Stiles. “Lydia,” he says the name slowly, like it’s unfamiliar to him, “didn’t tell me anything about you. Now that I’ve met you, I find myself wanting to know everything.”
“Yes, I’m a detective with SFPD. I work Vice, but I eventually want to move to Homicide,” Stiles tells him, shrugging. “But a whole lot of people want that, so I might end up moving back home to work for the sheriff’s department when I get older, after my dad retires. He’s sheriff of Beacon County, north of here.”
“Beacon County?” Derek looks startled. “Sheriff Stilinski is your father?”
“You know my dad?” Stiles frowns. “Not because of an arrest, is it?”
“No, I’ve never been arrested,” Derek says, shaking his head and giving Stiles a look as if he wonders just who he’s been dating exactly. “My mother is Talia Hale, she’s the mayor of Beacon Falls. I grew up around there.”
“Derek Hale?” Stiles sits back against the booth and stares. “No wonder Lydia didn’t tell me your name. Obviously, since she’s dating your sister, I’ve heard a little about you from Cora. Laura’s also one of my father’s favorite deputies, but I haven’t really interacted with her all that much. I’m really surprised Lydia managed to convince you to meet for a date. Cora’s mentioned before that you’re an antisocial recluse who doesn’t do relationships because you’re devoted to your job, though she’s never said what that is exactly.”
“Cora’s Lydia is your Lydia,” Derek murmurs, glancing up as a waiter approaches the table. It’s a tall guy with nice cheekbones and curly hair who looks far too amused to be waiting tables at a busy restaurant. Derek’s eyebrows do some sort of silent conversation that just seems to amuse the guy even more, judging by the smug grin on his face.
“Could I please have a menu?” Stiles asks, interrupting the silent conversation Derek’s having with the waiter. Maybe it’s an ex-boyfriend or something? Waiter guy looks hot enough to date someone like Derek. “A glass of wine would be good, too.”
“Of course, sir,” the waiter says. “Though I think you could probably trust your date to select the best options for you.”
“We’ll take menus.” Derek’s eyes flash red, and the waiter bows his head. It happens so fast that Stiles would totally have missed it if he hadn’t been staring at Derek. Okay. Wow. So the werewolf thing is definitely a Hale family trait across the board, which he’s suspected, but the alpha thing is definitely a surprise. “And a bottle from the private stock.”
“Private stock sounds expensive,” Stiles points out as the waiter hurries away. “I know that you’re probably worth a small fortune since all of the Hales seem to be, but I don’t want us spending too much on a first date. Also, are you the one who suggested we meet here since you’ve got a beta waiting tables or did Lydia arrange it that way so you’d be relaxed having pack around?”
“You’re very observant, aren’t you, Stiles? About some things, at least.” Derek studies him a moment. “And you aren’t even phased by that revelation, are you? Most humans get nervous around us, especially if it’s not expected.” His lips quirk again. “Don’t worry about the cost of the wine. It’s my treat. And Lydia arranged this without any input from me, trust me on that, but she is aware that Isaac and Erica are both working front of house on Friday nights while Boyd and Jackson are working the kitchen. They make up my pack.”
“I’m a detective. Being observant is part of the job.” Stiles shrugs. “My best friend is a true alpha, and I’ve been part of his pack since he got turned sophomore year of high school.” He blinks as he processes what Derek just said. “Jackson? Jackson Whittemore? Is that who you mean?” He takes Derek’s surprised look for confirmation and groans. “You actually turned that conceited douchebag? Man, my opinion about your judgement is starting to decline with that news. He spent most of my childhood making my life miserable, and I was sort of relieved when he moved during high school.”
“God, this is entirely too small a world,” Derek mutters. “Yes, that’s the Jackson I turned. He’s not a conceited douchebag anymore, but he used to be rather horrible, so I can see why your memories aren’t the most positive.” Derek looks at him and smiles slightly. “It doesn’t bother you that I’m an alpha then? That you’re dating outside your pack?”
“Not at all.” Stiles doesn’t mention that werewolf sex is pretty damn hot because he’s trying to be good and get a second date because this is the first time he’s felt a connection with someone he’s met. “Since your entire pack seems to work here, I assume you’ve eaten here before. That’s why the waiter—Isaac?—made that comment about you knowing what to order, isn’t it?”
“Here are the menus. Sorry for the delay, but I wanted to get your wine, too.” Isaac hands Stiles a menu that has a gold symbol on the front that he recognizes. Cora’s got it tattooed on her ankle, and Laura’s got it inked on her shoulder blade. It’s a family thing, they’ve told him, something about balance or whatever. A triskelion. His eyes widen as he puts two and two together, looking up at Derek, who is just watching him quietly, though there’s a faint blush high on his cheeks. Isaac clears his throat before asking, “Would you like anything to start while you review the menu?”
“Curly fries. Chili cheese with the bison and stuff,” Stiles says, not looking away from Derek. Isaac quickly steps away, obviously aware of the tension in the air. “This is your restaurant. That’s why your betas all work here, surrounding yourself with your pack like a good alpha. I can’t believe I didn’t recognize the name. Observant, right. Real funny, Derek. So, do you just own it or also work here?”
“I do both,” Derek admits. “Friday nights is my evening off from the kitchen, though. I review the menu and week’s numbers while also listening to customer feedback because I have to schedule that or I’d never leave the kitchen. I’ve trained Boyd and trust him, and Jackson is excellent with desserts, so I know the place is in good hands should I need to take off occasionally.” He licks his lips, which distracts Stiles momentarily. It must be obvious because Derek is fighting a smile. “I’ve never had a reason to leave early, though maybe that’s changing.”
“Oh.” Stiles feels warmth spreading over his face, probably making it splotchy and horrible looking. He hates the fact that he still blushes so noticeably despite being twenty-six now. He ducks his head, smiling at the table before glancing up at Derek through lowered lashes. “Lydia’s going to gloat a lot, just so you know. I’ve never met anyone on one of these dates that I’ve wanted to see again. Tonight, I don’t really want our meal to end.”
“Lydia. Right.” Derek shifts awkwardly and reaches for the wine. “About that. I, uh, well.” He opens the bottle and pours them each a glass. “Wine doesn’t affect me, but I do love the taste of certain vintages. I hope you enjoy the selection.”
“I’m not really a connoisseur or anything. I mean, I’ve received wine from local vineyards for gifts sometimes, but it’s not something I’m expert at,” he admits. “Now, if you want to know all the ways you can kill someone or want to discuss Marvel versus DC, I’m good to go.”
“I don’t particularly need to know how to kill someone,” Derek tells him, smiling that affectionate little smile again that makes Stiles feel like maybe the connection is being felt both ways. “However, I don’t see how there’s much to discuss when everyone knows Marvel is better.”
“Blasphemy!” Stiles takes a sip of his wine before he scowls playfully. “Batman is the best. That gives DC major points before you even start a comparison.”
And they’re off. Arguing good-naturedly about comic books then discussing the film adaptions and upcoming releases. Conversation flows so easily that he almost wonders if he’s dreaming because Derek is a gorgeous nerd with culinary talent and a successful restaurant. He’s practically perfect, and Stiles most definitely is not. Their appetizer arrives, and Stiles almost dies at how amazing the curly fries are because they’re even better than they looked on Food Network. He lets Derek order a main course for him because he’s trying to resist the urge to lick the plate clean as he eats the curly fries.
They start talking music, disagreeing on pop music now versus pop culture from decades ago, but sometimes he gets a feeling that Derek’s deliberately provoking him because he’ll sit back and just watch Stiles passionately argue that boys bands do have longevity or discuss how critics deliberately criticize artists that young women flock to, which gets Stiles on a rant about misogyny that continues as they eat steak that practically melts in his mouth it’s so fucking amazing. This place is definitely worth the cost. It’s some of the best food he’s ever had, bar none.
As they’re finishing up the main, Derek excuses himself to go check on the kitchen. Stiles watches him walk away, unable to help staring at his ass, which his suit pants show off perfectly. He’s sipping his wine and openly ogling his date’s ass when his phone vibrates. Putting the glass down, he pulls out his phone, grinning when he sees that he’s got a message from Lydia. Probably checking to make sure he hasn’t ditched his date, like he’s crazy enough to ever reject someone as amazing as Derek Hale.
When he reads her message, his smile fades. What’s she talking about? He hasn’t been stood up, and who the hell is Ethan? He types a reply asking if she’s been drinking because his date definitely showed up, and it’s going so well that they’ve spent hours talking over delicious food. Lydia’s response is unexpected. She wants to know who he’s eating with because it’s certainly not the man she set him up with tonight because that man actually met someone else and is a coward who didn’t bother calling her to let her know to cancel. Then she texts again asking him if he’s been drinking.
“Is everything okay, Stiles?” Derek asks as he approaches the table. He slides back into the booth and gives Stiles a curious look. “You smell agitated.”
“Lydia texted me,” he says, looking up at Derek and blinking when he sees Derek tense. His lips press together firmly, and he looks everywhere except at Stiles. No. No way. This can’t be happening. “You aren’t my blind date, are you? Oh my God. He stood me up, and then I assumed, but I should have known better because, fuck, look at you, and you just let me go on. Did you enjoy watching me make a fool out of myself? Is that what this was about? You like having mere mortals humiliate themselves over you?”
“Stiles, calm down.” Derek actually gets up and comes around to his side of the booth, sliding in so Stiles is stuck between him and the wall. There’s no way he can get up and storm out, the way he’s tempted to do as he sits here thinking about how embarrassed he is right now. Derek touches his face, warm fingers against his jaw, forcing him to look at him. “I thought you were cute, and I felt an instant attraction to you. It wasn’t anything more than me taking advantage of your misunderstanding, which was wrong of me. I almost told you a few times, but I, uh. Well, I like you? And I’m horrible at this sort of thing.”
“Cute?” Stiles scoffs, even as he feels his face warming up as Derek’s thumb brushes across his cheek in a gentle caress. “You should have told me, Derek. I can’t believe I sat down and you just went with it, humoring me the whole time.”
“If I’d been honest from the start, you’d have got up and left,” Derek whispers, scooting a little closer. “I didn’t want that, not until I knew everything about you. You felt it, too, didn’t you?”
“It would take more than one night to learn everything about me,” Stiles points out, glancing at Derek’s mouth before looking into his pretty eyes. “Yes, I felt it when our eyes met, like a full cliché come to life.”
“I guess it’s lucky that I have more than one night available then.” Derek leans in, so close that Stiles can feel his breath against his mouth. “Can you forgive me for not correcting your misunderstanding regarding the blind date?”
“Maybe. You’ll have to make it up to me, though,” Stiles murmurs, swaying slightly closer. It’s like Derek’s some kind of magnetic force drawing him in, not that Stiles is really putting up much of a resistance.
“I’ll cook for you,” Derek breathes out, rubbing his nose against Stiles’ nose as he moves his other hand up to cup Stiles’ cheek. “Make you anything you want. Curly fries. Triple chocolate cake. Homemade pasta.”
“God, you know how to talk dirty to me,” Stiles teases, turning his head so he can Derek’s palm. Just a brief press of dry lips against warm skin. Derek’s fingers twitch on his face, flexing unconsciously, and then they’re kissing. Derek’s mouth against his, fingers in his hair, pressing firmly as Stiles moves closer. He grips Derek’s biceps through his suit coat, returning the kiss eagerly. It’s surprisingly chaste considering the fact that the sexual tension between them is practically palpable, and he’s human, so he can imagine what they must smell like to any werewolves dining out tonight.
When Derek pulls back, he just stares at Stiles. “I want to see you again, Stiles,” he says softly. “Will you go out with me?”
“Yeah, of course.” Stiles nods, trying not to appear too eager but likely failing. He grins at Derek, lips still tingling from their first kiss. “I mean, this is the best date I’ve ever had, even if you’re the wrong man. I’d definitely like to get to know you better, go another date and see where this might go.”
“I’d like that, too.” Derek leans in for another kiss, just a brush of lips, enough to tease and make Stiles want more. He smiles as he strokes Stiles’ jaw, a large smile that makes his eyes crinkles up and completely transforms his face. He’d been gorgeous before but now he’s absolutely breath-taking. Literally. Stiles feels his breath catch at the realization this man is actually interested in him, wants to date him. Derek looks into his eyes, still smiling that devastating smile. “Another date soon. I work a lot, but we’ll figure something out. And I’ll show you that I’m the right man for you, after all.”