"Good Morning, Tardis Industries, you're speaking to Stiles. How can I help you today?" He grinned. His face hurt.
'Say it with a Smile' was a poster, taped to the wall of every cubicle in the place, and if you didn't 'say it with a smile' you spoke to Jackson – a dick in an expensive suit and a habit of making everyone around him feel like crap. He didn't say anything with a smile. It bugged Stiles, because they went to school together, played on the same Lacrosse team, and now Jackson got paid the big bucks (if they paid big bucks in here, which he doubted) just because his dad was the friend of most of 'Upper Management'.
"I need the IT department." A haggard sounding man on the line said. "I tried turning it on and off again and nothing helped."
"Can I have your account details please?" Stiles asked, making sure to smile. "And the first three letters of your zip code?" He typed the answers into his screen and looked at the information there. "Is this Mr Parker?"
"Yeah, that's me."
"Ok, Mt Parker, I'm just going to pass the call over to someone who can help." Stiles said, voice overly happy. Around him, the sounds of people on calls was a dull hum, you could hear the sharp uplift at the end of every sentence because after a while you stopped with the normal smile and you just ended up like the Joker from Batman and probably just as crazy.
He used his pen to type in the switchboard number, knew if from memory now, because most people only called the main line for IT or customer support – better known as 'Drainers' because the people in complaints team left at the end of every day like their souls had been sucked out. They knew how to party though, drank like there was no tomorrow (and probably wished there wasn't).
"IT." A gruff voice on the other line said. Stiles got shivers. It was actually impossible to purposefully dial anyone specific in the IT team, all their calls were routed through the main switchboard and passed to whomever was available, but that didn't stop Stiles from sending up a silent prayer that he'd get... Hale. Hottie Hale. Who had started working 3 months, 4 days and (he glanced at the clock on his PC desktop) 4 hours ago.
"Sup!" Stiles grinned, really grinned, not that fake crap you've got to give over the phone or have Jackson chew you out. There was a difference. You might have to work 5 years and counting in a call centre to work it out... but it was different.
In the booth beside him, Erica leaned back in her chair, punched him on the shoulder without breaking her conversation with the person on the other side of her headset, and mouthed 'Hale?' at him. 5 years in a call centre really helped you pick up changes in someone's voice. He grinned and nodded. She fanned herself while reciting a telephone number from memory.
They had been sitting in the same seats for years, coming right out of high school because neither of them got into college. Erica didn't go because she'd gone through that 'bad girl' phase (get her on tequila and you could see how bad she could be) and Stiles because his ADHD made him bounce from subject to subject without ever focusing long enough to apply himself. His teachers had once said he was the smartest kid to ever fail.
"Stiles." Hale said. For a moment, Stiles felt like king of the world. Hottie Hale remembered his name! Then it crashed back down when he remembered that the number would show up on his call management screen, along with his name.
"I've got a guy on the line who tried to turn it on and off again." Stiles said, still grinning. He heard Hale sigh. He hated those calls, you just knew, because it actually transferred down the line like a wave of pissed off frustration. "Sorry dude."
"It's not your fault, Stiles." Hale said , causing the hairs on Stiles neck to stand on end, damn his name sounded good with that voice. "Pass him over."
"Roger that, Callum."
"It's not Callum, either." Hale replied, before the two clicks on the line told him that the call had been lifted. Stiles grabbed the book he'd bought and flipped it open. The 'Bumper Book of Boys Names' had been a gag gift from his dad when Stiles had once whined about never getting a good enough name for his WoW character. It was coming in useful now though.
"After 4 months, you're still on the C's?" Scott's voice said from behind him.
"Look, Nerdalot, I only get to talk to him like... once or twice a day. It's a big ass book." Stiles shot back. "And he's only been here 3 months, so give a guy a break."
"You could give us a page each." Erica supplied, before breaking into a manic smile and – without even thinking, rattled off the 'welcome speech'.
"And have you guess his name before me?" Stiles gasped. "Never!"
Duration: 2 mins
Reason For Call: Software Error
Stiles lived in a crappy apartment a few miles from the house where he grew up. His dad, the local sheriff, would insist he went home every Sunday for dinner because his mom would have wanted them to stay together.
He never spoke about how he thought Stiles was meant for better things, because they had already had that conversation a million times, and Tardis Industries wasn't the worst place to work and the medical plan was great – plus, any job was worth it now. Scott's girlfriend Allison went to college, came home with her business degree and... worked at Tardis. Admittedly, she worked up in Accounts, but still, same pay cheque at the end of the week, just more student debt to pay.
Stiles used to share the apartment with Scott, but he'd moved out a couple of months ago when Allison had moved back. They lived in the apartment block over the street, if Stiles hung out of his window, he could make out what they were watching on TV.
When he got inside and locked the door behind him (habit, really, cops kid) he hauled off his backpack and kicked off his trainers, padding in his socks down the dark hallway.
The apartment was small, two rooms, a shared bathroom, kitchen and separate living room. Living with Scott had been great, because they'd known each other since... well... forever – same sandbox, same schools, same lacrosse team – but now Stiles was paying the rent for the place on his own.
The phone, hanging on the kitchen wall, was already ringing.
"Good Evening Ta-" He started, before remembering that he wasn't at work. "Uh, I mean, Hey." He finished. Most people living in the area worked at Tardis. There weren't a lot of other jobs going around.
"Stiles, it's Greenberg."
Damn. Stiles silently groaned. He really needed to get caller ID or something, so he knew when not to pick up the phone. "I'm really sorry, Stiles, man!" Greenburg was saying down the line, "But I really need you to save my ass!"
"Dude, I saved your ass last weekend!" Stiles sighed. "And the weekend before that too." He looked at his wall planner. It was empty, because this was his weekend. The weekend where he was gonna play WoW till he hallucinated, sorted out the guild bank and hit his conquest cap. He wasn't gonna spend his weekend working the graveyard shift for –
"Please, dude? Come on, it's not like you couldn't use the cash."
Stiles made a face down the phone. It was true. Night shift paid time and a half at weekends, because no one ever wanted to work them. The 'drainers' didn't work weekends (probably due to the high risk of them going postal and shooting the place up) and the IT guy who was supposed to work always kept his phone on 'busy'. Stiles had been the only one on the main floor last time. He answered 6 calls.
It wouldn't be so bad, but they monitored the internet, so Stiles couldn't even check his facebook or surf a little web.
"I worked your last two weekends, Greenberg!" Stiles shot back. "Both of them. You're going to lose your job!" Which was true. Kinda. He'd lose his job if he couldn't get anyone to cover for him.
"I'll owe you."
"You already owe me." Stiles said, but he could feel his resolve failing. The rent on the apartment wasn't a lot – if you had a flatmate to split the bills as well, which he didn't.
"I'll make sure you're on the VIP list, Stiles." Greenburg begged down the line, which was, of course, why he needed Stiles to cover another set of shifts for him, Greenberg was the bouncer at Jungle.
"I should already be on the VIP list." Stiles reminded him. "For last weekend." He knew he was going to end up doing the shifts, because, yeah – he needed the money and his Netflix subscription wasn't paying itself, but he was damn sure gonna make sure he got something for it. Greenberg wasn't good for a lot of things, but he was okay for a favour. "How about you get me a handful of tickets for the Angels and Demons party." Stiles said. It wasn't a question.
"Dude, they go for $40 a pop!"
"Yeah? At least 5, Greenberg, or you can call someone else."
The dejected sigh came over the phone. Stiles knew that Greenberg got complimentary tickets for the big events and sold them on. At least Stiles planned on using them. Erica loved Jungle, even if she wasn't gay and she'd appreciate a fancy dress event.
There was a long pause, followed by another sigh. "Fine. My shift starts at 9 tonight."
"Good Evening, Tardis Industries, you're speaking to Stiles, how can I help you?" Stiles grinned into his head set, eyes not leaving his note pad where he was doodling... everything. He had a stack of books under his desk, but he'd read a few pages of each and wasn't able to focus.
"I turned my laptop on and now it's just beeping constantly." A female voice said. Down the line Stiles could actually hear the high pitched 'ding ding ding ding'. It vibrated down his headset like a knife.
"Do you have your account number and first three digits of your zip code?" He asked, keeping his voice bright even with the insistent beeping. He nodded once he got the information.
"If you'd just hold one moment Miss Potts, I'll see if anyone in out IT team can take your call." He paused. "I should advise though, that at this time of night we do have a high number of calls and may not be able to get someone right away."
It was total bullshit, because no one had called in half an hour and even then it had been a wrong number, but Stiles knew that the IT guy on the graveyard shift was a total asshole who locked his phone up.
"Yeah, okay, whatever." The frazzled voice said.
Stiles hit the transfer button and dialled the IT switchboard without thinking. He was leaning back on his chair – wondering if the stories were true that they had cameras on the inside of the building just to see if you got up to anything fun, then fired you if you were. The line beeped once.
"Holy shit!" Stiles said, almost unbalancing and landing on his ass.
"Stiles." Hales voice didn't sound amused. He never sounded amused, really.
"I didn't think you worked weekends." Stiles said, knowing just how lame he sounded.
"I took an extra shift." He said, voice low and damn sexy. "Have you got a call for me?"
"What? Oh, yeah." Stiles grimaced. "Sounds like she's got a key stuck down or something." Stiles supplied. "Calvin." He added quickly.
"Right." Hale said. "Not Calvin either."
Two beeps and the call was picked up.
Duration: 3 mins
Reason For Call: Audio Error req IT
Knowing that Hottie Hale was down in the IT basement, Stiles found himself praying for more calls. He wracked his mind trying to think of an excuse to dial down, but couldn't think of a single reason why he'd need IT.
Part of the issue, of course, is that no one was really sure what he looked like – what any of the IT team looked like. Their hours were split differently to the customer support team (where Stiles worked) so that they arrived either before or after the first shift. Not only that, but they had their own cafeteria down in the basement (someone went down once and said they had a proper coffee machine down there, which Stiles thought was seriously unfair) so none of them used the same lunchroom.
So no one saw them arrive, no one saw them leave, and no one had lunch with them. Stiles was starting to feel like they were oompa-loompas. It was the general consensus though, that Hale was a 'Hottie'. He sounded like a hottie, and Stiles thought he was pretty good at judging voices over the phone. Quiet, a little… distant… and a whole lot sexy. Dude could probably make a fortune on one of those dial-a-dick numbers, where you phoned up and some guy would tell you all the things he wanted to do you.
It was a running joke in the office that they were going to set up a sex line, because… well… it would have to be easier than listen to people bitch about their extended warranties, or the fact that their cheapo laptop wasn't playing the hi-res graphics they wanted, or that the internet wasn't working on their PC 'but it has built in wifi'.
He glared at his phone management screen. 17 minutes without a single call. He was going to kill Greenburg.
Derek Hale leaned back in his swivel chair and tried not to snap at the woman down the phone. "Okay, what is it doing now?" He asked, voice painfully even.
"It's still beeping!"
Yes, Derek could hear that pretty clearly down the line, because she'd put the phone on speaker and placed it right beside the laptop. "Is there a message on the screen?"
"Could you please open a notepad?"
There was a muffled sound down the line, and then… "A long line of 'n' is just showing up." She said.
Derek resisted the urge to smash his fist through his own computer screen. "If you look at the keyboard, is there anything trapped under the letter N?" He asked, wondering if he was going to get some kind of award for putting up with these idiot calls.
"OH!" The voice said, and the beeping stopped. "Awesome."
Then she hung up.
"You're welcome." He said to the dead line , writing up the call log.
Duration: 36 minutes.
Reason For Call: Stupidity.
He looked at the submit button and sighed, deleting the last word.
Reason For Call: SKS, resulting in AF.
"Good Evening, Tardis Industries, you're speaking to Stiles, how can I help you?"
"I called earlier." The woman on the line said. "I need to talk to the guy."
"Can I have your account number?" Stiles asked, typing it as she spoke. "Miss Potts, how can I help?"
The 'previous call history' tab open, Stiles took a read. He grinned. Sticky Key Syndrome, causing Audio Feedback. He'd been right. "I spoke to the guy last time, and he fixed it, but now it won't restart."
"I'll see if I can get a hold of someone in our IT department to take your call." He said, putting her on hold and punching in the number with a grin on his face.
"Hale." The rough voice said after a click.
"I've got your SKS from earlier back on the line, Caleb."
"Not Caleb." Hale muttered. "Half an hour on the line because she'd got a crumb under the letter N."
It was the most Hale had ever said over the phone, as far as Stiles could remember. "Maybe she's got a girl crush on you." He grinned down the line.
"Nothing more attractive than someone who needs to call an IT helpline because of a sticky keyboard."
"Dude, sometimes you can't help a little splash!"
"I was talking about soda, get your head out of the gutter, Calvin." Stiles laughed, "Dirty mind you've got there, dude."
"Sure. Not Calvin either."
The double click told Stiles the call waiting had been picked up.
Duration: 2 mins
Reason For Call: IT
"SKS has a thing for you," Stiles said as soon as the line got picked up. "She's back."
"What is it this time?"
"I dunno, Cameron." He grinned. "Sounds like…" His voice trailed off. "Sounds like nothing, actually. I think she just wants to hear your voice."
Hale sighed. "Not Cameron. You'd think she'd have something better to do on a Friday night."
"Dude, I do have something better to do on a Friday night, and I'm stuck here, covering for Greenburg."
A double click and the call dropped.
Duration: 2 mins
Reason For Call: UST.
Derek was glad that they weren't allowed drinks at their desks, because he read the call history and would have sprayed coffee all over his screen.
Unresolved Sexual Tension?
Jesus, Derek could get fired for that. He dialled the main line.
"Good Evening, Tar-"
"Edit the call history." He growled.
"Why?" Stiles was laughing down the line, and Derek wondered if he was ever serious.
"UST? Change it. Now."
"It's the reason she called!" Stiles snorted. "I'm not editing it. They pick up on edited comments, Campbell."
"Not my name." Derek shot back. He knew he should just say, 'My name is Derek,' but he thought that perhaps Stiles enjoyed going through his apparently never-ending list of names. "Change it."
"Unknown Software Termination is an often quoted reason for a call, Hale," Stiles said, sounding slightly amused. "What the hell do you think it means?"
Derek hit the terminate call button, dropping the line.
He could feel his ears getting red, even though there was no one around to see, and he let out a groan. Fuck. Of course Stiles wasn't flirting through the damn 'Call History' logs. Not with Derek.
He'd only taken the job at Tardis because there wasn't anything else to do with a Business Management degree, even with his electives in Computing. He was totally over qualified for this job, but where else was he supposed to work?
With Laura gone and Peter's medical bills going up every year, he needed something to pay the rent.
And so… maybe he'd hoped that the loud-mouthed Customer Support (not so affectionately called 'drones' by the IT team) guy was flirting with him a little. You know, with the name thing.
Hale didn't make friends easy, felt a little out of place everywhere he went, and now he'd gone and made an idiot of himself by over-reacting.
Duration: 2 mins
Reason For Outbound Call: Line Test
Stiles used the intranet at work for two things, one, to check his hours for the upcoming month, and two, to see if there were any 'inter-departmental-job-opportunities'. There never were, because they got snapped up as soon as they were posted, but…
"Evening Supervisor." He read under his breath, like a prayer, eyes skimming over the details. There wasn't a lot of difference in the pay cheque but… he'd be a supervisor. He'd be… middle management.
For a moment his mind was filled with the nice house and the respect and sweet looking designer suits he was going to get, before he crashed back down to earth. Respect wasn't about to come his way, because he'd been working there for too long and everyone knew him, and the pay cheque wouldn't make any difference in the long run and the idea of him a suit made him cringe inwardly. He had to wear the shirt and slacks at Tardis, but only Jackson wore the suit and tie. If you worked weekends and you put a dollar into the donation jar, you got to wear your normal clothes. Most people did. It was for a good cause after all.
He hit 'Apply' and started filling in the extra details. Looked like it had just been posted too – so he should be one of the first ones to see it. Damn right. Supervisor Stiles.
That had a nice ring to it.
A new Teen Wolf story for you as a way of saying 'Thanks' for sticking with me through my foray into Supernatural territory!
I'm going to take a few liberties with the employee code for this – I worked for an airline call-centre for a few years and although probably not the most interesting job in the world, I loved it. I'm not sure how it works in America, with the company packages as I think you guys get healthcare and stuff (We get free healthcare via the NHS so that would be pointless) so if you see something that makes your eyes bleed with Britishness… sorry. I'm from there, I can't help it.
I'm not sure how long this'll be, so you might be looking at a couple of chapters or a complete novel - you know what I'm like with planning ahead and plot.
This was a prompt given via Tumblr user: dyren asked: Prompt: Derek and Stiles both work at a call centre together, and Derek is always being really shy. :D
I've been trying to squish out my Brit-speak but being British makes that hard. I will always use English (UK) to write and spell-check, so if you don't like your colours with a 'u' you're gonna have a bad time.
I do proof-read, but am still flying Beta free, so mistakes do happen.
I love reviews (most people do!) so please leave one to let me know what you think – it's the reviews that keep me motivated to write when plots go pear-shaped and characters decide to go do their own thing.
And it's just nice to see people saying hi!
Let me know what you think, either here, twitter (bmwiid) or Tumblr (bmwiid)!