Stiles awkwardly sits across from three strangers in what he hopes will be his new loft because staying with his father has been an awkward and stifling at the same time. Not to mention the commute to work. And Lydia’s offer to camp-out in her living room isn’t too appealing. Or bunking in Scott and Allison’s spare room. He’s tired of living out of a suitcase since he ended it with Matt. Stiles is always up for new things. It’s a start of a new life. A new beginning. So what if the only available apartment listing in his price range was one with werewolves as roommates. He can totally deal with moodiness once a month. He’s dealt with Scott’s wolfy problem growing up. He’s sure he can handle three more wolves. And he’s pretty sure he won’t develop a complex about being the only one not ridiculously attractive.
"So, you know in horror movies when the guy’s like, "Oh, my God. There’s something in the basement. Let me just run down there in shirtless and see what’s going on, in the dark." And you’re like, "What is your problem? Call the police." And he’s like, "Okay", but it’s too late, because he’s already getting murdered. Well, uh, my story’s kind of like that," says Stiles with a self-deprecating smile.
The alpha of the group frowns like one big sour wolf. Derek’s been giving Stiles the most glaring Carebear stare since Isaac opened the door to Stiles’ awkward but friendly wave. Jackson, the other werewolf to round out the group, hasn’t looked up from his texting since the casual interview began.
"I just wanted to know if you had any pets," says Derek.
But Stiles waves him off. They should know what they are getting into. Werewolves love honesty. “Too late, I’m already monologuing.”
Stiles feels so worn after dumping Mr. Fancyman. But he needs passion. He needs that fire. That challenge.
Just getting to the apartment was tiring. He feels like he could sleep for a month. So he’s shocked that he nearly stumbles into Kate when she’s exiting Derek’s room in nothing more than a flannel shirt and a pair of underwear.
"Oh hey, Stiles," grins Kate, brushing her hair back.
"Hey," Stiles manages to garble out. "How are you doin’?"
Though it should be more, who. And Stiles knows that answer.
"Good," Kate says awkwardly before heading towards the washroom. "Just going to the bathroom."
Stiles waits for the bathroom door to close before heading towards Derek’s room. Derek stumbles out, shirtless and in boxers, forcing Stiles backwards.
"Yeah, I know, I just called her and I don’t know-"
"What are you doing? You had a terrible relationship. Arson, Derek, arson. Are you crazy?" Stiles says. He sniffs the air. "Are you seriously burning incense?
"Yeah, I am for ambiance. She digs it," glares Derek.
"She’s an arsonist, of course she digs it," Stiles whispers harshly looking towards the bathroom. "Are you crazy? What happened? What happened to swearing off women? And focusing on tomatoes?"
"I can’t grow tomatoes, Stiles," Derek replies, rubbing his jaw in frustration. "I think this is what was supposed to happen all along. Me and Kate. I am okay with it. I’m happy."
"That is pathetic, Derek. You’re just saying that because you don’t have the patience or courage to be alone. Or the drive to find a compatible mate."
The toilet flushes and Stiles hears water running. Kate walks back out with a carefree smile. Stiles is thankful that she doesn’t share any of his housemates’ keen hearing.
"I’ll never get used to that bathroom," Kate smiles, not noticing the tension as she kisses Derek on the cheek.
"Hey, would you give me a second, I have to talk to Stiles for a minute," Derek says, not taking his eyes off of Stiles.
"Oh, sure," smiles Kate. "Don’t keep me waiting too long."
"Bye Kate," Stiles waves awkwardly as Derek steps into the hall and closes the door behind him. Derek turns to Stiles.
"What is your problem?" glares Derek.
"Have fun making terrible life decisions!" Stiles says before storming off to the living room.
"Oh and you just know everything," growls Derek, following him. "I am really sick of you."
"I am just really disappointed in you," Stiles sighs.
"Maybe I’ll be more like you Stiles, and I’ll try to solve Scott’s problems rather than fix mine."
"That’s not what I do!"
"And tell other people how to live their lives," continues Derek.
"You’re one to talk, Mr. Sour Alpha!"
"Why don’t you go back into your room and put on your stupid leather jacket and keep not living up to your potential," shouts Stiles.
"You’re a crazy person, Stiles!" growls Derek.
"Am I? I’m just saying stuff you don’t want to hear," Stiles says.
"You know what I would like to hear from you?" shouts Derek.
"Well I’m not going to be silent," Stiles says, throwing his arms in the air in frustration.
"Just shut up for one second!"
"I am trying to help you," shouts Stiles over Derek’s growl.
"Be quiet," growls Derek, pushing Stiles up against the wall. "I don’t want your help."
Stiles is so angry. A red haze is giving him tunnel vision. Derek’s stupid face is all he can focus on. Derek’s eyes haloing red.
"Stop making that face at me," shouts Stiles. "I hate that face."
"This is my only face," growls Derek, forgetting to reign in his voice. Forgetting that Kate is just behind his bedroom door. "I don’t have a lot of faces."
Derek’s breath is ghosting harshly into Stiles’ face. Stiles’ heartbeat is climbing as Derek pauses for air. Their eyes lock.
"And if you don’t like looking at my face, Stiles. Then look at my ass!"