Stiles was only looking for this week’s hiding place the sheriff chose to conceal his spare set of keys to the police station and it’s various locked components. After the whole “kidnapping” of Jackson via the police van incident, he confiscated Stiles’ illegally duplicated set and started hiding his spares.
What he found instead of the keys he needed for this week’s wolf business wounded him more than access to any gun cage at the station ever could.
“No. Get out,” Derek says flatly, not looking up from the paper on his desk that he’s just begun editing with a bright red pen. “I have things to do.”
“And I care about exactly none of them, Dr. Hale,” Stiles says, dropping himself into the seat in front of Derek’s desk. “You’re just making this harder on yourself.”
“No. Stiles, you’re a student.”
“I haven’t been in your class for six semesters!” Stiles argues. “I graduate in two weeks. I have needs, man. Needs that include a student-teacher scandal. Preferably in your office, but, you know, I’m an accommodating guy. We can work our way there. Derek, seriously. Come on.”
“There are other professors if you want a scandal,” Derek points out as he notes a comma splice in the paper.
Stiles snorts. “None of them have a six pack, though.”
“You don’t know that I have a six pack,” Derek says, looking up. It only takes a fraction of a second for Stiles’s eyes to drop from Derek’s face to his chest, and Derek has the distinct notion that Stiles is trying to visualize what’s underneath Dererk’s gray oxford. Which really should not make his fingers curl around his pen and his mouth go dry, but, hey, Stiles doesn’t have to know that.
Stiles licks his lips, opens his mouth and says, “Uh, yeah, I do.”
Derek’s not going to try and parse that one out because if he follows that train of thought then he’s going to lose this battle very quickly.
It’d be easy to give in to Stiles. He’s pretty enough—if you’re into kids who never close their mouths even when they’re not speaking (which, apparently, Derek is)—and despite the near-constant propositions for sex, he’s not the most annoying student Derek’s ever had. But there’s something else, something a little dangerous and a little promising in the way that Stiles looks at Derek, like he wants to look for a long, long time. But Derek has final papers to grade, and Stiles might as well have DISTRACTION written across his forehead in bright red letters (Derek looks at the pen in his hand and decidedly doesn’t get any ideas about it).
“Ten days,” Derek says finally, leaning back in his seat with a sigh. “Get out of my office, and you can come back in ten days—a day earlier and the deal’s off the table.”
Stiles looks like he’s been told he gets to open all his presents on Christmas Eve— all wide-eyed and open-mouthed. Without a word, he scrambles out of the office and into the hallway like he’s scared Derek’s going to change his mind any second.
The last thing Derek hears before turning his attention back to the paper on his desk is an excited whoop that echoes down the hallway of the Language building.
"You can pretend all you want, Cedes, but I know you still love me, too."
"Oh yeah, and how’s that?"
"You still have my picture on your dresser."
"You’re supposed to be working on our history project, not taking inventory of my room. And I have a lot of pictures in my room, Sam, of my friends. Which I count you as…and nothing more.”
"They’re not the same and you know it. Mine’s not just some shot from a trip to the mall or from glee practice. It’s from that day at the park…you can’t tell me you don’t remember."
Mercedes did remember. Like it was yesterday and not months ago. She remembers the way they sat near the lake and ate PB&J, throwing their leftover crusts to the nearby ducks. She remembers the way the breeze kept blowing Sam’s honey colored locks into his eyes and him constantly having to brush them away. She remembers the way his strong and able fingers strummed the strings of his guitar while he hummed a tune she didn’t recognize.
"What are you playing?"
"Yeah, it was supposed to be a surprise for your birthday but since I think I finally just figured out the ending you may as well hear it now."
She remembers sitting there being utterly blown away by the guy sitting next to her. She remembers being completely overcome with emotion because she knew she was fierce and any guy would be lucky to be with her, but she never thought someone would care so deeply about her to the point of writing a song just for her.
She remembers feeling like everything around her stopped while Sam played, the breeze, the dog barking in the distance, time itself. There was nothing in this moment but her and Sam. Her Sam. She remembers pulling out her iPhone as he started the second verse and taking a photograph so she would have something tangible from this perfect afternoon after the sun had set and he dropped her off at home.
"Cedes? Are you okay? You haven’t said anything for like a whole minute..if you don’t like it I understand, I can still make-"
She also remembers how his words died out as she suddenly brought her lips down on his, wanting-no-needing him to know how being with him made her heart beat faster and slower at the same time. How she was starting to ache when she couldn’t be with him, which although a bit frightening, made it that much more exciting the next time she saw him. How she loved him and couldn’t keep it to herself anymore.
"It was perfect. I loved it…and I love you."
She remembers how she stopped breathing for split second while waiting for his reaction, hoping wildly that she hadn’t just taken a huge step he wasn’t ready for. But then she remembers how his lips turned up into her favorite, crooked half-smile and she knew it was safe to exhale.
"I love you, too Mercedes. More than you could ever know. Now come here, I’ve spent too much time handling this guitar and not enough handling you."
She remembers putting the picture she took into a classic silver frame next to her bed later that night, never wanting to forget the perfect day she had just had, and knowing she never would.
Seeing him standing there now, after everything that had happened in the past few months, with that picture in his hand, she knew he was right. Regardless of how often she told herself otherwise, she had never stopped loving Sam, and was becoming increasingly suspicious that she never would.
"Sam I need you to leave."
"Look, Cedes, I’m sorry I-"
"No..I’m sorry. I’m sorry I haven’t been honest with you. or Shane. Or myself for that matter. My feelings for you aren’t gone, but I refuse to take even one step forward before talking to Shane. He deserves an explanation and not that it will make him feel any better, but an apology as well. And I can’t do that with you here."
Sam seemed frozen for a minute, dumbstruck by her words…then slowly her favorite crooked half-smile reappeared once more while he simply nodded in understanding. And as he walked out the door and she reached for her phone, she heard the faint humming of a tune from a perfect day at the park.