The scent is intoxicating. Stiles closes his eyes and inhales deeply, isolating the sweet smell that’s caught his attention. Opening his eyes, he looks around the crowded auditorium in an attempt to locate the source of the scent. It’s impossible when the room is full of incoming freshmen, hundreds of students milling around and trying to sort themselves into groups for the required campus tour that follows the boring ‘go team’ and ‘school pride’ speeches they’ve just endured.
It’s a lot of pointless nonsense that’s taking an entire day when the only real important parts would only take a couple of hours. After all, he’s going to college because he managed to get a scholarship after working his ass off in high school, not because he wants to root for the sports teams or wear school colors all the time. No, school spirit doesn’t mean all that much to him. This is the college that gave him the most money, and it happens to be the school Scott’s also attending, so it worked out well. This is just a means to an end. A necessity in the world they live in today, and the only way he can hopefully achieve his goal of becoming a forensics psychology god and working for the FBI one day.
With so many people forced into a small space, Stiles has been breathing through his mouth, concentrating in the way he’s learned to block out the overwhelming aromas that crowds always bring. The worst part of being a werewolf is definitely the keen sense of smell when in groups, so Stiles has learned all the ways to block out scent and even conversations or noises to avoid any unnecessary disturbances. If Scott hadn’t distracted him by mooning over some cute brunette with dimples sitting a few rows ahead of them, Stiles wouldn’t have actually caught the scent in the air. He’s not sure whether to be grateful or annoyed because that smell is the best thing he’s ever scented yet he can’t possibly locate who smells so great when there are far too many possibilities.
Since Scott’s majoring in Biology and Stiles is going for psychology with a minor in criminal justice, they separate into different groups as Stiles joins the other Arts and Sciences majors for the tour thing. Stiles flares his nostrils, continuing to look around as he subtly scents the air. He knows what this means, has heard the stories from his mom before she died, didn’t actually believe he’d ever experience it himself, but now he knows it’s real. Knows it just as easily as he knows his name or that the sky is blue. It’s unlike anything he’s ever felt before, and that’s just from the first scent. It’s overwhelming, especially when he’s a little nervous about going to college and leaving his dad home alone with no one to make sure he’s eating healthy and taking care of himself.
Three are three people in charge of his group, and he tries to make himself listen to the woman talking about the upcoming tour and advisor meetings. That’s what he really wants to get to, advising and signing up for his classes. It makes no sense to him that the university forces all freshmen to live on campus and forbids registration until the mandatory orientation that takes place the Monday after move in day.
As he listens to her explain how they’re going to separate into smaller groups, he tries to stop sniffing the air, but it’s impossible. Just as impossible as it is to focus on the perky woman talking when there’s a gorgeous guy standing there with an orientation shirt stretched tightly around his broad chest, sleeves snug around muscular biceps, glasses doing nothing to hide the beautiful green (or are they blue?) eyes that are awkwardly avoiding the students. He has a beard that Stiles definitely wouldn’t mind feeling rub against his inner thighs, and he’s definitely not perky or even projecting any sort of school pride happiness at being there, which actually makes Stiles like him beyond just the objectification because of his pretty face and nice body.
When they’re broken up into three other groups, Stiles totally cheats and moves himself to the group going with Tall Dark and Gorgeous. It’s pretty obvious that participating in freshman orientation isn’t something this guy probably did that willingly, and Stiles is curious about the story there, but he knows it’s one time his curiosity won’t get sated. As his group leaves the auditorium, the scent seems to follow him. Tall Dark and Gorgeous introduces himself as Derek, a grad student in the psych department, which is news that causes some conflicting emotions because Stiles is definitely lusting after a guy who could very well end up teaching one of his classes, which is not a good thing, but having someone with the same major in charge of his group means Stiles can ask a lot of specific questions that someone majoring in English or Economics couldn’t answer.
The smell is getting sweeter as they walk to the first stop on their tour. That makes him suspect his potential soulmate is in his group, but, when he looks around curiously, no one really catches his interest. So he focuses on his tour leader, who definitely interests him. Derek is not as awkward as Stiles figured he’d be, showing off a sly sense of humor, a hint of sarcasm, and a confidence that could border on cocky arrogance if it weren’t accompanied by that pretty smile.
Several of the people in his group are sneaking looks at Stiles, subtly scenting the air and showing interest that would usually make him preen because he’s actually not used to people looking at him that way. The kids he grew up never really could see him as anything but the mouthy troublemaker he’d been from an early age, so there really hadn’t been any dating or opportunities for sex. No one had been interested, and he’d been pretty focused on his grades and supernatural education. College seems like it’s going to be different, but the whole perfect scent at first smell thing might change things.
No. Will change things. That is, if they both want the same thing out of the potential relationship.
Stories of soulmates, of finding someone who can be everything you never knew you even wanted or needed, of finding the other half of your soul. It’s just the potential, though, because there’s always free choice. Even with something like soulmates. Stiles has known of people who have been lucky enough to find The One, but most people aren’t that fortunate or they choose not to try because they fall in love with someone else. Or the connection is strong but not in a romantic way. There are platonic soulmates, but that’s not the vibe he’s getting from the scent he’s been smelling since he noticed it, able to single it out like nothing else in the world has an aroma at this very moment in time. His dick has been half-hard since the first scent in the auditorium, his fingers are itching, and he’s having to really resist the urge to seek out the source and just fuck or cuddle or maybe a combination of both right there with everyone around them.
With a shake of his head, he tries concentrating on not losing himself to the sweet smell. Derek looks away when Stiles focuses on him, his ears flushing red as he stammers over what he’s saying before he continues leading the group to another building. Stiles catches Derek looking at him several more times during the tour, and it’s a nice distraction from the scent because Stiles definitely doesn’t have men as beautiful as Derek looking at him with interest. The urge to preen is back, worse than before for some reason. Stiles gradually moves closer to the front of the group, no longer content lingering on the outside edge. He likes listening to Derek, his voice a little softer and higher than one would assume based on his muscular frame, and he’s really into answering any questions people have.
The tour gets a break when they go to a residence hall with one of the most popular cafeterias. Everyone takes off to use the bathroom, to get lunch, to make phone calls, or to get away from the crowd of strangers they’ve been forced to spend time with the last hour. Stiles isn’t sure what he wants to do, so he stays there watching Derek instead of wandering off. It’s only when they’re by themselves that he realizes the scent is even stronger than before, sweet and comforting and sexy all mixed together somehow in a way that just makes him think mine.
“It is you,” Derek whispers, reaching up to push his glasses up his nose as he looks at Stiles. “I wasn’t sure.” He clears his throat before he admits, “I was hoping.”
“Oh, good. You smell it, too,” Stiles says, feeling relieved because he doesn’t know what’s normal in this kind of situation. Derek said he’d been hoping, which means he must be interested in Stiles, at least a little. Right? “I, uh, I’m Stiles.”
“I’m Derek.” He ducks his head and scratches at the beard covering his jaw before looking back at Stiles. “But you already know that.”
“I do know that.” Stiles leans in closer, forcing himself to remain in control when it’s becoming more difficult to do so. “You smell so damn good.”
“So do you.” Derek sways towards him before biting his lip. “Is this okay? I don’t want to make you uncomfortable or anything.”
“Yeah, it’s okay. I want to kiss you. Can I?” Stiles licks his lips when Derek nods somewhat eagerly before leaning in to kiss Derek. What a stupid idea. They should have known better, should have remembered the stories, but it’s too late now. When their lips press together, Stiles feels like a spark’s been lit. The tentative kiss isn’t nearly enough, and Derek seems to agree because they’re moving together, touching now, hands in hair and stroking backs as the kiss deepens. Derek tastes amazing, and Stiles can’t get enough. He licks into his mouth, pressing him against the wall by the dorm bulletin board. When they pull apart, he’s breathing hard and incredibly aroused. “You taste even better than you smell.”
“We probably shouldn’t continue this here,” Derek says, leaning in to nuzzle Stiles’ cheek. He grips Stiles’ hip tightly, squeezing as he kisses his way along Stiles’ jaw. “I have a place off-campus. We can go there, if you want? To talk and, uh, figure this out.”
“Your apartment?” Stiles has his fingers in Derek’s hair, his other hand on Derek’s shoulder. He rubs his face against Derek’s neck, sniffing him and inhaling the heady aroma that first caught his attention. He tightens his grip, growling low in his throat as he feels Derek shudder against him. He wants more than he’s wanted anything in his life, but he can’t let hormones overtake his good sense. “My instincts are telling me you’re mine,” he admits softly. “But I don’t even know your last name, so I’m thinking maybe staying somewhere public might be the best idea. God, I’m crazy for saying it, but we should try to, uh, get to know each other first, you know? I mean, I’m not sure if we’d be able stop if we were alone in your apartment.”
Derek pulls back to look at him, face flushed and eyes slightly dazed. “My last name’s Hale.” He stares at Stiles for a moment before he smiles shyly. “And it’s not crazy,” he says. “I feel the same way. Like you’re mine even though I just met you.” He leans in to press a chaste kiss against Stiles’ mouth. “You’re right, though. Kissing you is addictive, so we’d probably go faster than we should if we were alone at my place. Would you want to get coffee when you’re finished here then?”
“Yes.” Stiles doesn’t even play coy or pretend to be hesitant. Even if Derek didn’t smell so good, he’d be totally interested because Derek’s gorgeous, intelligent, and sarcastic. He’s like Stiles’ perfect man, and he only hopes that Derek’s maybe thinking the same thing about him, even if Stiles has been too distracted by the scent of his potential soulmate to really be that vocal during the tour. They’re going to have to discuss their packs and the roles they have within those packs. He hopes Derek isn’t one of the anti-magic werewolves, since Stiles has a natural spark that’s pretty powerful, which is why he’s already acting as an emissary despite only being eighteen. Stiles being an alpha shouldn’t really matter since he’s not got his own pack, but the magic thing can bother some werewolves.
Derek smiles when Stiles agree to coffee, like he didn’t know Stiles would agree. “Good. I’m looking forward to it,” he says, looking so happy that it makes Stiles’ pulse race.
“How much time is there left until we have to finish the tour?” Stiles glances at Derek’s mouth before focusing on those pretty eyes, which are blinking at him as a flush spreads high on Derek’s cheekbones. God, he’s adorable, and he’s going to be Stiles’, even if it takes time. He knows without a doubt that this whole soulmate thing is real, and, in their case, it’s definitely the romantic kind of potential. Derek feels it, too, judging by the way he’s looking at Stiles, the way he’s touching him, the way he smells, the way his heart races a little faster when Stiles looks at him.
“About ten minutes,” Derek says after a look at his phone. “We’ve got to be at the Arts and Sciences building in a little over an hour for you to meet the advisors, and that’s the last event on the schedule. I’m off duty when the tour ends, but I’ll wait for you so we can get that coffee.”
“Definitely wait for me,” Stiles says firmly. “So, ten minutes, huh?” Stiles leans in and rubs his cheek against Derek’s bearded jaw. “That gives us a little more time to, uh, talk. Or kiss, if you’d rather. Man, I can’t believe I found my soulmate during orientation.”
“Guess we’re lucky.” Derek turns his head, pressing their lips together. Stiles melts into him, returning the kiss eagerly. When Derek makes a sexy noise and deepens the kiss, Stiles holds him tight and pulls him closer. They’ve got plenty of time to talk with words later, when they have coffee and discuss what this whole mate thing really means outside of the wanting to nest and have sex and claim urges he’s feeling right now. There’s only a few minutes before his fellow freshmen come back and the tour continues, so kissing Derek is definitely the best way to pass the time.