Just a bit of fluff for you peeps(:

Inspired by Taylor Swift's new song Begin Again, also where I got the title from.

An AU Sterek fic where the Hales are still alive, Kate broke Derek's heart and he's scared to get back on his feet. But Derek's sister, and New York City's District Attorney, Laura pushes him into a date with a boy in her office. Derek is reluctant but he can't deny Laura a thing, so he agrees grudgingly. What Derek didn't expect was to be able to begin again.

(Don't worry, I'm still working on my other threeeee fics and will have the final chapters of those posted as soon as possible. But I am having a procedure done on my back on Wednesday, so I don't know how soon anything will be posted. :))

Derek dreaded these weekly dinners with his sister. Usually he didn't mind seeing her; they rarely had time to hang out during the week with Laura's job and Derek's classes. But ever since Kate had broken up with him and he hadn't started dating again, Laura would try to fix him up with someone new each time he saw her.

He stuck his key in the door of her apartment and pushed it open, dropping his bag by the door and hanging his coat on the rack by the door.

"No, Rachel, you tell him that I'm gonna have his ass in court and to forget about trying to file for an acquittal," Laura was growling into her cell phone. "Tell Jonathan to get on that. I want this closed by Saturday." She hung up and bounced over to Derek, her entire demeanor changing as she beamed at him. "Hey, D!"

"Hey, Laura. Big case this week?" he asked as she squeezed him tightly.

"Ugh, yes! Being the DA of New York city is like…super rewarding. But you really have no idea how much work it is," she explained, heading into the kitchen.

"Really? I just figured you'd pass it all off to some lackey." Derek grinned at her. "So what's for dinner?" he asked, poking his head around her to look at the stove.

Laura smacked his nose, nudging him away. "Spaghetti and meatballs, and you're gonna stay away from the stove because you're a terrible cook," she ordered. "Pour us some wine."

"Red or white?" he asked, going over to the wine rack by the breakfast bar.

"Uh, get the montepulciano."

Derek nodded and they moved around each other easily as Laura cooked and Derek poured wine and set the table. Laura served dishes, piling Derek's high and giving him an extra piece of garlic bread.

"This smells amazing," Derek breathed out, smiling.

"Thank you, thank you," Laura grinned humbly.

"Mom's recipe?" he asked.

"Of course," she laughed. "How's school going, Pico?"

Derek rolled his eyes at her childhood nickname for him. "It's fine. Professor Daehler hates my guts."

"What? She loved me!" Laura scoffed.

"Of course she loved you. Everyone at NYU loved you and that's why they hate me. Because I'm not like you," he pointed out.

Laura pursed her lips but nodded. "That's true," she allowed, laughing when Derek tried to push her off her chair. "So, uhm," she started slowly, and he tried not to groan. He knew that tone of voice. "Have you seen anyone?"

"Yes, I've seen a lot of people."

"You have?" He hated how hopeful she seemed.

"Well, New York is a crowded place, Laura. It would be hard to not see anyone," he replied easily and it was her turn to shove him.

"I'm serious, D. I'm worried about you. It's been so long." Laura was giving him her biggest bluest puppy dog eyes, concern etched into her sharp features.

Derek heaved a heavy sigh, putting his fork down and rubbing his eyes. "I know you are. But I'm just not ready…and it hasn't even been that long, okay?"

"Eight months, Derek! Just…there's someone in my office who…I think you'd really like, okay? Could you just meet him?" Laura begged.

Derek groaned again, getting up and taking his half eaten plate to the kitchen. "Laura, don't do this again. Please," he begged, leaning on the counter and staring at her over the bar.

"I just want you to be happy. Please, D, just give Stiles a chance okay? He wants to meet you," she pushed.

"Stiles? What kind of a name is Stiles? Who even names their kid that?" Derek huffed, putting the food away in plastic Tupperware containers.

"It's a nickname, Derek. He doesn't like being called by his first name. Look, I already told him you'd have coffee on Wednesday afternoon. Don't make me tell him my jerk brother is gonna stand him up," she persisted, folding her arms and glaring at him.

"Laura," Derek whined, but his older sister didn't budge. "Fine. I'll go. But just coffee."

"Yay! Thank you, D! I think you're really gonna like him," she assured him, clapping and jumping on him in excitement.

"Yea, yea, I should go. I have a paper due in the morning," he replied.

"Okay, I'll text you the time and place for coffee later. And you'll call me afterwards and let me know how it went, understood?" She gave him her stern lawyer look.

"Sure, Laura," he agreed.

Derek took a deep breath, staring at his reflection in the mirror. He was wearing a white button down rolled up to his forearms and his favorite pair of jeans. Kate had always complained when he wore them because they were too worn out, but Derek loved them. They were dark and they hugged his hips just right, he thought. Laura had helped him pick them out when they went to Long Island that one time. He ran his fingers through his dark, slightly curly hair, but he didn't feel like gelling it like he used to when he was with Kate. He'd never liked so much crap in his hair, but Kate liked it so he did it for her.

He turned the lock of his apartment door as he left, putting his head phones in his ears and heading for the elevators. The café he was meeting this Stiles character at was just a few blocks from his apartment near campus. He mouthed the words along with his favorite song. Kate had never understood it, complained about the lyrics and how they made no sense to her. He shook her out of his mind and tried to think ahead to the coming afternoon.

He wasn't sure what to expect or what to think. He was nervous and maybe a little scared. It had been eight months since his relationship with Kate had ended badly. She hadn't really given him a reason as to why she was ending their nineteen month relationship, something about wanting different things. But Derek just wanted her, just wanted whatever she wanted.

He saw the café ahead and checked the time on his phone, taking his headphones off and wrapping them up. He was five minutes early and was debating on ordering coffee or waiting. Derek was used to being the early one and waiting around. But when he pulled the door open he saw someone stand up and grin widely, giving a wave. Derek recognized him from the picture Laura had sent the previous night.

Derek gave a tiny smile and made his way over. Stiles was tall, almost taller than Derek, and he looked much too young to be working in the District Attorney's office. His eyes were whiskey gold and his pale skin dotted with dark moles. He had this sweet sort of look about his face, his brown hair mussed up like he just ran his fingers through it a couple times from nerves. The thing Derek couldn't wrap his head around was that Stiles was actually early; even earlier than Derek.

"Hey, you're Derek right? I've heard a lot about you," Stiles said as Derek reached him.

"Good things, I hope," Derek replied as Stiles reached forward to hug him. Derek returned the hug gently, a little taken aback.

"Of course! Laura adores you," Stiles assured him, pulling out a chair for Derek on one side of the table and smiling warmly. It seemed Stiles was the gentleman type and everything he did was throwing Derek off because it wasn't something he was used to at all. Derek gave him a small smile and sat down as Stiles moved to the other chair. "So, what do you do, Derek?"

"Uh, I'm working on my doctorate in architecture," Derek told him as a waitress came over.

"That's so awesome. What kind of things do you want to build?" Stiles asked once the waitress had taken their order.

"Um, I'm more into restoring old buildings. There are already so many beautiful places with beautiful structures that corporations just want to tear down and rebuild. But they deserve to be preserved and not wiped away. Everyone is all about the next big thing and moving forward that they forget about what we already have and why are you looking at me like that?" Derek hesitated, feeling self conscious because he couldn't identify the expression on Stiles' face.

"No, no, I just…I think that's really really amazing and I totally agree with you," Stiles replied hurriedly, trying to reassure him.

"Oh, thanks." Derek could feel his cheeks redden slightly under the other man's gaze. "Uh, so how old are you? You look a bit young to be working in the District Attorney's office."

Stiles chuckled lowly and Derek was mesmerized by the sound, the ease of it. Kate had hardly laughed when they were together. "I'm twenty two, but I graduated college early and went onto law school. I was working for a firm in Long Island but then I was offered a position with your sister and of course I took it. She's an amazing attorney."

Derek smiled at that. "Yeah, Laura's amazing. Our whole family is extremely proud of her," he replied.

"Well, I'm sure they're proud of you, too! I mean, an architectural doctorate? That's pretty badass," Stiles grinned, leaning forward slightly.

Derek smiled, glancing at the table. "Thanks," he mumbled.

The waitress brought their coffees, black Columbian roast for Derek and a caramel macchiato for Stiles, and each a slice of pumpkin spice bread. They talked through the afternoon, most of the conversation shouldered by Stiles, but he didn't seem to mind. Derek was amazed when Stiles laughed at his jokes. And not just a polite laugh, but the kind where he threw his head back, his whole body shaking and making him look like a little kid. Kate had never thought Derek was funny. Stiles seemed to sense that Derek was shy and encouraged him but didn't push too hard.

Stiles insisted on walking Derek back to his apartment so they set off down the sidewalk together. They'd gotten about half a block when Stiles threaded his arm through Derek's and glanced at him to make sure it was okay. Derek just gave him a little smile and didn't pull away so Stiles counted it as a win and kept talking. Derek was feeling comfortable around Stiles like he'd never felt comfortable around anyone else, even Kate. Stiles was sweet and funny and a bit hyperactive, but Derek found himself liking that about him. He was never going to live it down from Laura, but if this thing ended up going somewhere then he'd live with Laura's smugness.

Derek found himself wanting to offer up an explanation for his shyness, why he held so much of himself back and probably came off as weird and overly reserved. He was just about to open his mouth to say something about Kate and their bad relationship but then Stiles started talking again.

"After I opened presents my mom used to make these amazing caramel stuffed apple cider cookies and then she and my dad and I would sit on the couch together all of Christmas day watching movies. It was a ritual; The Christmas Story then White Christmas then Holiday Inn then all of those old animated Rudolph ones and we'd fall asleep to It's A Wonderful Life," Stiles told him, smiling fondly.

"Used to?" Derek asked hesitantly, not sure if it was his place to ask.

"Yea, well, the tradition sort of fell apart after she died." Stiles shrugged but Derek tightened his arm around Stiles'. "I was twelve and she had had leukemia for almost four years. She'd suffered enough and wasn't responding to treatment anymore."

"I'm so sorry," Derek whispered quietly as they approached his building. Stiles shrugged again and kept quiet and Derek didn't know what else to do. "Uh, would you…I mean, do you wanna…come up?"

Stiles looked up at him and then at the building they'd come to stop in front of. "To your apartment?"

"Yes?" Derek rubbed his hand against the back of his neck. "You don't have to…"

"No!" Stiles stopped him quickly and then blushed a little, lowered his voice. "I mean, no, I'd like to."

Derek smiled and nodded. "C'mon."

They rode the elevator up, striking up conversation again as they walked down the hall and Derek unlocked the door, allowing Stiles in first. He locked the door behind him and when he turned around Stiles was looking around his apartment in awe. Derek rubbed his hand over the back of his neck and smiled sheepishly.

"Uh, I wasn't very social in high school so all the money I made interning at the architecture firm pretty much just sat in the bank. Laura convinced me to get this place," he explained lamely, shrugging.

Stiles turned back to him with a wide grin. "She was totally right, this place is awesome," he praised, wandering over to the high shelves that held Derek's entertainment system along with an old record player and shelves upon shelves of vinyl. "Dude," Stiles breathed, fingers skimming over the cases and reading the tiny words on the side. "I've never met anyone with as many Coltrane and Taylor records as me. And you have the vinyl too. So badass."

Derek smiled softly, moving over beside him and picking up the needle to place on the last Coltrane record that was still in the player. He pressed the button and smooth jazz filled the room, the sound of a saxophone and soft piano playing gently like warm rain on a tin roof during the summer.

"My dad used to play his old records on Sunday mornings and he'd dance with Laura and I'd dance with my mom. We'd just screw around and laugh about absolutely nothing. Sometimes I miss when things were so simple," Derek shared quietly. "My mom always said nothing sounds like vinyl and there's honestly no amount of digital enhancing that could make music sound better."

He glanced at Stiles then who was staring at him like he'd grown a second head and Derek blushed. "You're like my clone or something. Are you sure you're not just another me in a hotter body?" Stiles asked, head tilted to the side a little and an amused smile playing on the corners of his lips.

Derek snorted out a laugh and leaned against the shelf, folding his arms across his body and quirking a brow. He still wasn't sure what he wanted to say and he knew that he was being shy, that Stiles was probably wondering why. Stiles gave him a brilliant smile and then continued his examination of Derek's vinyl records, then his movie cases, coming to skim his fingers over some of Derek's sketchbooks.

"Oh, those are…old," Derek rushed as Stiles pulled one down, falling onto the sofa as he flipped through it.

"Do you mind?" he asked, looking up with curious whiskey eyes.

"Uh, sure," Derek allowed, moving to sit next to him.

"These are amazing," Stiles breathed quietly, examining every sketch and drawing as he turned each page with near-reverence. "What's this one?" He pointed to one of Derek's earliest sketches from his sophomore year of college when he figured out that he wanted to be an architect.

"Uhm, it's an old church back in my hometown. It was condemned but marked as having historical significance so it wasn't torn down, just left to crumble. I was fascinated by the domes and steeples and stained glass so I went there every day one summer and completely redesigned it," Derek explained and launched into a description of every room, where everything would go, how he'd make everything better. Stiles, for his part, just sat there, staring at Derek and smiling at him, listening to every word and nodding along.

They spent the rest of the afternoon talking. They took turns telling stories and telling jokes. They dug around in Derek's cupboards for snacks and slowly, ever so slowly, Derek felt a tightness in his shoulders begin to loosen; a tightness he hadn't even known was there until it gradually wasn't. With every one of Stiles' smiles, laughs, words, brushes, a little bit more relief seeped through Derek's muscles until they were standing at Derek's front door trying to say goodbye, but only managing to stare at each other. Caught in that whiskey gold gaze Derek felt the past slip into the past, and on a mundane Wednesday afternoon, at some random coffee shop that he doesn't think he'd ever been to, he felt something warm take root inside his chest.

"Text me?" Stiles asked hopefully and Derek nodded.

"Of course," he assured the younger man. Then before he could stop himself he slipped forward to press a gentle kiss to the soft skin of Stiles' cheek. "I'll see you later."

"See you later," Stiles agreed with a smile and Derek watched as he moved down the hallway.

They kept eye contact until Stiles stepped into the elevator and then he was gone and Derek felt like something good was finally happening. Like he could start over and instead of trying to fix up his relationship with Kate like he did with buildings, he got to start from scratch and build something new that he might just get to keep. Derek got to begin again.

Pleaasseee review? They make my day.(:

This is what I based Derek's apartment off of: www . mynewplace blog / files / 2011 / 08 / timberlake - new - york - apartment . jpg