Title: Ice Cream is Overrated
Word Count: ~2.4
Warnings: Alternate Universe - Comic Book Shop, Awkwardness, Shy!Derek, Eighties Arcade Games, Dorks in Lust
Summary: Stiles is hopelessly competitive. Derek is just hopeless.
"Hey, boss," Erica says, leaning in through the storage room door with one hand on the handle. "Your favorite customer is here."
Derek, knee deep in their month-end shipments, adds a tick next to Young Justice in the catalogue on his clipboard and says absently, "Good. Have them put it behind the counter."
He looks up with a distracted frown. "What?"
Erica rolls her eyes and sighs hugely, like Derek is an annoying younger brother instead of a cranky, overtired twenty-something that could fire her at any minute and often wonders why he doesn't. "Earth to Derek, come in Derek. I repeat, your favorite customer has entered the building."
Derek scowls at her. "I don't have a favorite customer."
She lets go of the door to jerk her thumb towards the shop front. "Your least-hated customer, then. The skinny dude with the Galaga obsession."
"Stiles," Derek says without thinking, and Erica gives him a knowing look.
"Yeah, him. In case you, y'know, wanted to lurk in a dark corner and stare or something," she offers, and disappears back into the shop with a flippant little wave.
Derek grinds his teeth for a moment, then remembers the night guard his dentist had threatened him with and forces himself to stop. He looks at the boxes surrounding him, stacked two or three high and every one of them full of comics that needed indexing and pricing. If he doesn't get it done soon he'll be here all night, because it's about time for their afternoon rush and Isaac can still barely work the cash register. Right. He doesn't have time for this.
Derek spends five more minutes misreading and mislabeling the box he's working on before he grunts "Fuck this," and throws the clipboard down, yanking his apron up over his head and letting it fall to the floor in a sad heap.
Their afternoon rush is starting, anyway.
Derek isn't a stalker, and he isn't into jailbait, no matter what his employees think. The only reason Derek knows Stiles' name at all is because the kid happens to be friends with Scott McCall, who is apparently best buddies with everyone in town under the age of eighteen— Erica, Isaac and Boyd included. Derek finds this out one slow Saturday morning when he sits down to take out his frustrations on the old arcade machines in the back, and nearly spits his coffee all over the front panel of Q*bert.
"Heard you bellow, boss," Boyd says, Isaac hot on his heels. "What's up?"
Derek points accusingly at the screen. "Which one of you did this?"
"Did… what?" the boy asks slowly, eyebrows raising.
Derek jabs the screen with his finger. "This!"
'This' is a name, SUPERSS, right at the top of the scoreboard—on the scoreboards of all the machines— roundly beating out the unbroken lines of DH that have been there since Derek was a teenager and Uncle Peter ran the shop.
"Dude," Boyd says, looking disdainful. "You think I put my hands on your nasty eighties throwbacks? Give me a break."
These kids have no goddamn respect. "Well, smartass, who the fuck did, then?"
"I think—" Isaac swallows, visibly has to steel himself to continue after Derek and Boyd both turn to stare at him. "I think it was— Stilinski?"
"Oh, right," Boyd says. "Scott's nerd friend. Yeah, he was back here last night."
Isaac nods. "He got all excited over the machines. I think he spent an hour on Galaga alone."
The top three slots on Galaga have been taken by SUPERSS, and Derek tells his minimum-wage charity cases to get the hell back to work while he turns back to face the consoles, eyes narrrowed. Some of his best childhood memories are the summer days he wasted in here, playing these games back when they were new and exciting and state of the art. He knows these machines, Ms. Pac Man and Galaga and Tron, like he knows his Camaro, and no snot-nosed kid is going to beat him in his own house.
Two days later, Derek is counting money in the till (not bad, for a Monday) when the bell on the door jingles and a group of high-school kids wanders in, laughing and shoving each other in a way that makes him think of grubby-fingered bulls in a china shop.
"No, it's awesome," one says, all bright eyes and boney gracelessness as he strides forward. "These things are original, they're classics,just look at them—"
That's when Derek puts a face to the name, and later, when he sees that SUPERSS has once again taken the top slots on Galaga, he puts more than a few curses to the face.
Things get a little out of hand after that.
It quickly becomes a pattern, Stiles breaking Derek's records, Derek breaking them right back, until Stiles is appearing like clockwork every day just to play and Derek has set aside two hours every evening to beat him.
Derek watches Stiles— not from dark corners, fuck you very much, Erica— but out of the corner of his eye and with quick, darting glances as he mans the cash register and restocks the shelves. Stiles' focus is intense, almost heated, his whole body leaning into game as he battles his way through vast stretches of pixilated outer space and evil aliens. He keeps up a running monologue of, "Yeah," and "Suck on that, bitch," and even more suggestive sighs and grunts and moans when things are going badly.
And he's good. Really good. Almost as good as Derek, and certainly more invested, and after a while McCall and the rest of the boys slowly trickle off and it's only Stiles, day after day, week after week, lanky body hunched over, face flushed, eyes almost feverish as he slurps noisy out of Big Gulps he braces on the edge on the console.
Derek maintains that under those circumstances, anyone would get a little obsessed with the kid.
Stiles starts leaving him notes— Beat this! says one, with a smiley face sticking its tongue out next to the words.
Derek writes back Is that all you got? after he tops him by 1200 points. The notes get increasingly more combative, until Derek realizes he's flirting and more horrifying, realizes Stiles is flirting back.
He stops answering, but Stiles doesn't stop writing.
Derek's on the phone with Peter about the sale of a copy of Amazing Spider-Man #129 when he hears a loud "What the— who the fuck is this guy?" coming from the direction of the mini-arcade.
Derek turns towards the wall, hyperaware of every noise coming out of that corner. "Hey, can I, uh, give you a call back? Customers."
"I doubt you could afford the phone bill," his uncle says, sounding amused.
At age forty, Peter Hale had abruptly decided to bequeath his comic shop to Derek and relocate to parts of the world unknown, for reasons known only to him and perhaps a mob boss or two. Everyone in the family has their own theories. Derek thinks it had something to do with Peter's misspent youth in Los Angeles and the couple hundred grand he made off selling a pristine set of the first ten Batman comics. Laura says Peter moved to Thailand for the underage prostitutes, but Laura is a fucking defense lawyer. She has no moral ground to stand on.
"Oh, that's it, DH, you're going down," Stiles growls in the background, and Derek, to his utter horror, feels his face start to warm.
"I'll give you a call again next week," Peter continues, thankfully oblivious.
"Yeah, uh, sounds good," Derek manages, just as Stiles shouts, "Take that, asshole!"
It shouldn't make him blush harder, but it does.
Stiles gets a 4,505,150 on Galaga on tournament setting, and Derek stays up the entire night and only manages to get to 4,505,201.
It's worth it, though. Derek's idling next to the bargain bin when Stiles swaggers in Friday afternoon, has to hide his face in Johnny Wander so no one sees him grin when Stiles starts to yell, "No way, no way—"
Erica is staring at him, eyes wide. "Holy shit," she breathes, "you actually—"
"Shut the fuck up or you're fired," Derek counters, but he's smiling and he can't stop, even though Erica looks genuinely afraid and Isaac looks like he might wet himself at any moment. Derek coughs and disappears into the back room before he can embarrass himself any further.
Five hours later, the shop minions are gone but Stiles is still there, and Derek has just about given up pretending that he's not imaging those long fingers wrapped around his dick like they're wrapped around that joystick.
Because Laura is right and he wasn't properly socialized as a child, the first time Derek ever speaks to the object of his increasingly depraved sexual fantasies he says, "Buy some comics or get the hell out."
Stiles looks up at him, gaze unfocused and slightly glazed. "Wha?"
"You heard me," Derek mutters, cursing himself. "Get the fuck out."
Derek starts to turn away and Stiles says, "Hey, wait a sec—" and reaches out, maybe to grab his sleeve or touch his arm. He's been perched awkwardly on the tall stool in front of the Galaga machine, and the sudden shift in weight causes it to wobble alarmingly. "Whoa!"
Derek tries to catch him, and wonders desperately when his life became an episode of Jackass when instead Stiles crashes down on top of him, kneeing him in the stomach and almost breaking his teeth out with one flailing elbow.
"Holy shit, I'm so sorry," Stiles says, kneeling up over him, "are you hurt? Did I—?"
"Get the fuck off me," Derek grits out, because he can feel the blush spread over his face and it's so fierce his ears are smarting. He's probably glowing like a hot coal.
"Are you sure you're okay?" Stiles is still babbling, and Derek hauls himself up and jerks Stiles to his feel by the front of his hoodie, which effectively shuts the boy up.
"We're closing," Derek growls, feeling singed. "Get out."
"Oh, uh, okay," Stiles says, and doesn't move.
"Leave," Derek annunciates, pointing helpfully towards the street.
Stiles just looks at him, an obvious head to toe sweep of his body that ends with a bite to his pink (and underage, remember that, damn it) bottom lip. "Dude, you are like, tomato-red, are you sure I didn't hurt you?"
Stiles throws his hands up. "I'm going, I'm going, sheesh!"
Derek paces him, just to make sure he actually does leave so Derek will have the shop to himself, and can dissolve into a self-hating blob in private. Two precious steps from the door Stiles suddenly stops in his tracks. "Wait, how do you know my name?"
"You're in here every damn day," Derek says, wrenching the door back and holding it open, helpfully.
Stiles lets himself be pushed outside, the wings of his shoulder blades sharp under the palm of Derek's hand, and he almost trips on the concrete steps but turns to face Derek once he's regained his balance.
"What's your name?"
"Go home, kid," Derek says, and moves to shut the door. Stiles plants a hand against the glass and leans in.
"Come on, you know mine! It's only fair!"
Derek eyes him, his beseeching expression and the distracting line of skin his position bares, right at the cut of his (underage, fucking underage) hips.
"It's Derek," he mutters, "Derek Hale," and immediately knows it was a mistake when Stiles' eyes widen.
"Holy fuck, you're—!"
Derek slams the door in his face. Locks it. Flips the shades shut. Completely ignores the shouting and pounding and goes about closing up the store, tidying piles of comics, packing away the day's earnings, even a few minutes of unenthusiastic vacuuming.
Stiles is leaning against the Camaro when Derek walks out the back door, and for a brief irrational moment he considers ducking back inside and barricading the door with shitty backissues of Marville and the lumpy staff sofa. It passes quickly, because damn it, he's a grown man and he's not afraid of a scrawny-ass sixteen-year-old boy, no matter how intently he's staring as Derek walks up to him.
"We should go get ice cream," Stiles says, with the air of someone who's been thinking about it for a while.
"Get off my car," Derek growls.
Stiles gets off the car, but he nudges right up into Derek's space, so close Derek can smell the tangy-fake sweetness of the strawberry soda he'd been drinking. Christ, the kid's just as tall as he is.
"Ice cream," Stiles says definitively, reaching up to cup the back of Derek's neck. The touch makes Derek jerk. "Then a movie, because the new Star Trek is coming out next week. Then dinner, after which I expect to get to at least third base."
"No ice cream, and definitely no third base," Derek tells him, annoyed by the way his body sways into it when the boy runs his thumb up under his ear, rubs the soft skin there. "You're a sophomore in high school."
Maybe Peter did move to Thailand. Maybe it's genetic. When Stiles firms his hold on Derek and pulls him into an awkward but enthusiastic kiss, Derek sinks into it like it's all he wants, uses his mouth and his teeth to show Stiles how to do it properly, how to make it smolder, until Stiles has both arms and a leg wrapped around him and is making shaky, eager noises.
"Ice cream," Stiles pants when they separate. "Ice cream or we drive this sweet little penis extension up into the hills and make out in the back seat."
"When you put it that way," Derek says, laughing, and pins him down on the hood on the car.
"Oh, fuck ice cream," Stiles moans, "it's completely overrated, oh, fuck—"